Department of Anthropology
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131
I am broadly interested in applying the tools of
evolutionary ecology to help understand cultural
dynamics in human societies.
I am currently worked as a postdoctoral researcher on the Tsimane Health and Life History project, run jointly between the University of New Mexico and UC Santa Barbara.
I recently completed my doctoral dissertation at UC Davis, working with Pete Richerson, Richard McElreath and Monique Borgerhoff Mulder. I am also a member of the Cultural Evolution Lab group.
Ryan Baldini and I have recently developed an extension of the Price equation for human cultural systems we call "evolutionary decomposition", inspired by the recent biodemography work of Tim Coulson and Shripad Tuljapurkar.
Together with Adrian Bell, I have traced the historic spread of Polynesian canoe technology, focusing specifically on the environmental and historical antecedents of particular canoe designs.
Working with Monique Borgerhoff Mulder I have done survival analysis work on data from East African agriculturalists, which appeared in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in 2009.
I have conducted field interviews in various locations in California's Central Valley for a project on the perceptions and interpretations of sustainability, on a project with Mark Lubell in the Environmental Science and Policy program. This research, mostly qualitative, was used in a UC Davis white paper on sustainability and development.
For the last few years I have been working as a statistical consultant for the Santa Fe Institute's Intergenerational Transmission of Wealth project, and collaborated with Sam Bowles on a project estimating the productivity of early agricultural methods. I have also worked as a GIS technician for the Institute for Social, Behavior, and Economic Research at UC Santa Barbara.
Publications and Papers
Bret A. Beheim and Ryan Baldini. "Evolutionary Decomposition and the Mechanisms of Cultural Change" Cliodynamics, in press. pdf supplement
Bret A. Beheim and Adrian V. Bell, “Inheritance, ecology and the evolution of the canoes of east Oceania”, Proc. R. Soc. B (2011) 278, p.3089-3095. pdf supplement
Monique Borgerhoff Mulder and Bret A. Beheim, “Understanding the nature of wealth and its effects on human fitness” Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B (2011) 366: 344-356. pdf
Mark Lubell, Bret A. Beheim, Vicken Hillis, Susan Handy, “Achieving Sustainability in California’s Central Valley”, UC Davis Sustainable Transportation Center, (2009).
Bret A. Beheim. "Japan's Cultural Inoculation: A Darwinian Account of the Radiation and Retreat of Firearms and Christianity, 1543-1650", University of Chicago Master's Thesis, (2006, advisor: William Wimsatt)
Bret A. Beheim. "The City of Ephesus and the Fall of the Roman Empire" University of California, Santa Barbara Senior Honors Thesis (2004, advisor: Hal Drake)
Melody Reis and Bret A. Beheim. "A Theory of Social Formalism: The Four Horsemen and the New Deal." Law and Society Review at the University of California, Santa Barbara II (2003): 85-94.
While at Davis I had the opportunity to teach three classes: "Evolution and Human Nature" (ANT 50),
"Applied Research Methods" (ESP 178) and
a class on anthro theory, "Human Ecology" (ANT 102) with Ben Orlove.
Syllabi are available on my teaching page.