The University of Western Australia

UWA Staff Profile

Ipsum Lorem

Jim Chisholm

E/Prof Jim Chisholm

Senior Honorary Research Fellow
School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology

Contact details
Address
School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology
The University of Western Australia (M309)
35 Stirling Highway
CRAWLEY WA 6009
Australia
Phone
6488 3296
Fax
6488 1051
Email
jim.chisholm@uwa.edu.au
Qualifications
BA Wesleyan (Middletown), MPhil PhD Rutgers
Key research
My intellectual life is motivated by the assumption that we are part of nature, part of life. If we are part of life, then in principle everything about us must ultimately be explainable in terms of evolutionary theory, our only scientific theory of life. But how can we understand such uniquely human traits as rationality, values, morality, aesthetics, and culture itself in terms of evolutionary biology? I approach this problem through the venerable question of how nature (biology) and culture (shared learning) interact during development to produce human behaviour.
I thus use the principles of evolutionary ecology, life history theory, sexual selection theory, and parental investment theory to generate models of the development of human reproductive strategies. In conjunction with data about the behaviour of nonhuman primates and the cultural ecology of existing hunter-gatherer peoples around the world I develop models of the evolution of human behaviour, particularly the origin of male parental investment and the family. I also use these models to generate testable hypotheses about the causes and consequences of individual differences in such life history traits as age at menarche, first sexual intercourse, marriage, and first reproduction; the relationship between number and quality of close emotional ("attachment") relationships throughout life (a major part of the new field of evolutionary psychology); and the trade-offs between quantity and quality of offspring. Understanding these individual differences should help us understand better such modern concerns as teenage pregnancy, AIDs, single parenthood, family dysfunction, etc. Using evolutionary theory in this way is what the emerging fields of evolutionary medicine or evolutionary public health are all about. To the extent that an evolutionary perspective on health and well-being provides a rational basis for social policy my work is also relevant to evolutionary ethics. Most of these ideas are discussed in greater detail in my new book Death, Hope, and Sex: Steps to an Evolutionary Ecology of Mind and Morality (Cambridge University Press, 1999).
Publications
Books
Chisholm, J.S. 1983. Navajo Infancy: An Ethological Study of Child Development. Hawthorne, NY: Aldine de Gruyter.
Rushforth, S. with Chisholm, J.S. 1991.
Cultural Persistence: Continuity in Meaning and Moral Responsibility Among the Bear Lake Athapaskans. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.
Chisholm, James S. 1999. Death, Hope,and Sex: Steps to an Evolutionary Ecology of Mind and Morality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Journal articles, book chapters, and lengthy comments
1975-1985
Chisholm, J.S. 1975. The social organization of ceremonial practitioners at Navajo Mt., Utah. Plateau: The Museum of Northern Arizona Quarterly,
47(3):1-26.
Chisholm, J.S. 1976. On the evolution of rules. In M.R.A. Chance and R.R. Larsen (Eds.) The Social Structure of Attention. London: John Wiley.
Chisholm, J.S., Woodson, R.H. and da Costa Woodson, E. 1978. Maternal blood pressure in pregnancy and newborn irritability. Early Human Development,2(3):171-178.
Chisholm, J.S. and Richards, M.P.M. 1978. Swaddling, the cradleboard, and the development of children. Early Human Development, 2(3):255-275.
Blurton Jones, N.G., Woodson, R.H. and Chisholm, J.S. 1979. Cross-cultural perspectives on the significance of social relations in infancy. In R. Schaffer and J. Dunn (Eds.) The First Year of Life. London: John Wiley.
Chisholm, J.S. 1980. Development and adaptation in infancy. In C. Super and S. Harkness (Eds.) Anthropological Perspectives on Child Development. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Chisholm, J.S. 1981a. Social and economic change among the Navajo: Residence patterns and the pickup truck. Journal of Anthropological Research,
37(2):148-157.
Chisholm, J.S. 1981b. Prenatal influences on Aboriginal - white Australian differences in neonatal behavior. Ethology and Sociobiology, 2:67-73.
Chisholm, J.S. 1981c. Residence patterns and the environment of mother-infant interaction among the Navajo. In T. Field, A. Sostek, P. Vietze and P.H. Leiderman (Eds.) Culture and Early Interactions. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Chisholm, J.S. l985. Developmental plasticity: An approach from evolutionary biology. In J. Mehler and R. Fox (Eds.) Neonate Cognition: Beyond the Blooming, Buzzing Confusion. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

1986-1996
Chisholm, J.S. 1986. Social and economic change among the Navajo: Residence patterns and the pickup truck. In P. Bock (Ed.) Approaches to Culture and Society: Selected Articles, 1945-85. Special Edition of The Journal of Anthropological Research, 42(3):289-298. [Reprint of Chisholm 1981a.]
Chisholm, J.S. and Heath, G.D. l987. Evolution and pregnancy: A biosocial view of prenatal influences. In C. Super (Ed.) The Role of Culture in Developmental Disorder. New York: Academic.
Chisholm, J.S. 1988. Toward a developmental evolutionary ecology of humans. In K. MacDonald (Ed.) Sociobiological Perspectives on Human Development. New York: Springer-Verlag.
Chisholm, J.S. l989. Biology, culture, and the development of temperament: A Navajo example. In J.K. Nugent, B.M. Lester and T.B. Brazelton (Eds.) The Cultural Context of Infancy. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Chisholm, J.S. 1990. Life history perspectives on human development. In G.Butterworth and P.E. Bryant (Eds.) Causes of Development: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. London: Harvester Wheatsheaf.
Burbank, V.K. and Chisholm, J.S. l990. Old and new inequalities in a Southeast Arnhem and community: Polygyny, marriage age, and birth spacing. In J. Altman (Ed.) Emergent Inequalities in Aboriginal Australia. Sydney: Oceania Monographs.
Chisholm, J.S. and Burbank, V.K. 1991. Monogamy and polygyny in Southeast Arnhem and: Male coercion and female choice. Ethology and Sociobiology,12:291-313.
Chisholm, J.S. 1992. Putting people in biology: Toward a synthesis of biological and psychological anthropology. In T. Schwartz, G. White & C. Lutz (Eds.) New Directions in Psychological Anthropology. Cambridge University Press.
Burbank, V.K. and Chisholm, J.S. 1992. Gender differences in the perception of ideal family size in an Australian Aboriginal community. In B. Hewlett(Ed.) Father-Child Relations: Cultural and Biosocial Contexts. Hawthorne,NY: Aldine de Gruyter.
Chisholm, J.S. 1993a. Death, hope, and sex: Life history theory and the development of reproductive strategies. Current Anthropology, 34(1):1-24.
Chisholm, J.S. 1993b. Reply [I] to comments on "Death, hope, and sex: Life history theory and the development of reproductive strategies." Current Anthropology, 34(1):18-24.
Chisholm, J.S. 1994. Reply [II] to comments on "Death, hope, and sex: Life history theory and the development of reproductive strategies." Current Anthropology, 35(1):39-46.
Chisholm, J.S. and Wescombe, N. 1994. Evolution, attachment, and cultural learning. Comment on M. Tomasello, A. Kruger and H. Batner's "Cultural Learning." Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 17(4):778-779.
Chisholm, J.S. 1995a. Love's contingencies: The developmental socioecology of romantic passion. In W. Jankowiak (Ed.) Romantic Passion: A Universal Experience. New York: Columbia University Press (Pp. 42-56).
Chisholm, J.S. 1995b. Life history theory and life style choice: Implications for Darwinian medicine. Perspectives in Human Biology, 1:19-28.
Chisholm, J.S. 1996a. The evolutionary ecology of attachment organization. Human Nature,7(1):1-37.
Chisholm, J.S. 1996b. Learning "respect for everything:" Navajo images of development. In P. Hwang, I. Sigel and M. Lamb (Eds.) Images of Childhood. Hillsdale, NJ.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Chisholm, J.S. 1996c. The evolutionary psychology of risk-taking in young males. In G. Robinson (Ed.) Aboriginal Health: Social and Cultural Transitions. Darwin, NT.: Northern Territory University Press. Pp. 124-128.

Recent 1997-2000
Burbank, V.K. and Chisholm, J.S. 1998. Adolescent pregnancy and parenthood in an Australian Aboriginal community. In G. Herdt and S. Leavitt (Eds.) Adolescence in Pacific Island Societies. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.
Chisholm, J.S. 1998. Evolutionary medicine. In C. Waddell and A. Peterson (eds.) Health Matters. London: Allen and Unwin.
Chisholm, J.S. 1999. Attachment and time preference: Relations between early stress and sexual behavior in a sample of American university women. Human Nature, 10(1):51-83.
Chisholm, J.S. 1999. Steps to an evolutionary ecology of mind. In A.L. Hinton and D. Harper-Jones (Eds.) Beyond Nature-Nurture: Biocultural Approaches to the Emotions. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Chisholm, J.S. 1993a. Death, hope, and sex: Life history theory and the development of reproductive strategies. Current Anthropology, 34(1):1-24.
Chisholm, J.S. 1996a. The evolutionary ecology of attachment organization. Human Nature,7(1):1-37.
Chisholm, J.S. 1996b. Learning “respect for everything:” Navajo images of development. In P. Hwang, I. Sigel and M. Lamb (Eds.) Images of Childhood. Hillsdale, NJ.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Burbank, V.K. and Chisholm, J.S. 1998. Adolescent pregnancy and parenthood in an Australian Aboriginal community. In G. Herdt and S. Leavitt (Eds.) Adolescence in Pacific Island Societies. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.
Chisholm, James S. 1999. Death, Hope, and Sex: Steps to an Evolutionary Ecology of Mind and Morality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Chisholm, J.S. 1999a. Attachment and time preference: Relations between early stress and sexual behavior in a sample of American university women. Human Nature, 10(1):51-83.
Chisholm, J.S. 1999b. Steps to an evolutionary ecology of mind. In A.L. Hinton and D. Harper-Jones (Eds.) Beyond Nature-Nurture: Biocultural Approaches to the Emotions. New York: Cambridge University Press (pp. 117-149).
Chisholm, J.S. and Burbank, V.K. 2001. Evolution and inequality. International Journal of Epidemiology, 30(2):206-211.
Coall, D.A. and Chisholm, J.S. 2003. Evolutionary perspectives on pregnancy: Maternal age at menarche and infant birth weight. Social Science and Medicine, 57(10):1771-1781.
Chisholm, J.S. 2003. Uncertainty, contingency and attachment: A life history theory of theory of mind. In K. Sterelny and J. Fitness (Eds.) From Mating to Mentality: Evaluating Evolutionary Psychology. Psychology Press, Hove
Chisholm, J.S. 2003. Nurture is natural: Reply to Amin and Thompson and Rushton. Behavior and Philosophy, 31:127-137.
Chisholm, J., Quinlivan, J. Petersen, R. and Coall, D. 2005. Early stress predicts age at menarche and first birth, adult attachment and expected lifespan. Human Nature, 16(3):233-265.
Chisholm, J., Burbank, V., Coall, D. and Gemmiti, F. 2005. Early stress: Perspectives from developmental evolutionary ecology. In B. Ellis and D. Bjorklund (Eds.) Origins of the Social Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and Child Development. New York: Guilford Publications.
Chisholm, J. and Coall, D. 2007. Not by bread alone: The role of psychosocial stress in age at first reproduction and health inequalities. In W. Trevathan, E. Smith, and J. McKenna (Eds.) Evolutionary Medicine and Health. Oxford University Press.
Research profile
Research profile and publications
 

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