CEM Seminar - Pete Trimmer

For over 50 years, signal detection theory (aka 'error management theory', the 'smoke detector principle', etc) has been related to behaviours including mate choice, habitat choice, immune function, predators choosing between models and mimics, the evolution of plant defences, and mental illnesses.  I will show that the influential and intuitive predictions of the theory are highly misleading in many biological settings.  When multiple decisions will be taken in an autocorrelated world, the trends predicted by signal detection theory should often be reversed. If time permits, I will also discuss recent models of mood-mediated behaviour.

Dr. Pete Trimmer has a background in mathematics, biology, engineering, computer science and psychology which is he using to build evolutionary models of behaviour -- a topic which he considers fascinating and still in its infancy. He completed an ERC-funded post-doc in Bristol, UK in 2015 on "The evolution of mental mechanisms" and is now an NSF-Funded postdoctoral researcher at UC Davis studying the behavioral effects of habitat change.