ET2: She–He–Me–BeHave: Biological Sex and Human Behavior


Science has a long history of discussing sex differences as either biologically determined, or culturally acquired. This talk will endeavour to build a bridge between those two standpoints and address the questions: What are the evolutionary foundations of sexual dimorphisms, how do they manifest during ontogeny and how do they affect our behaviour? Examples from research on human mate choice, reproduction and attractiveness will be used. As significant is not necessarily relevant, the last section will be dedicated to how we communicate findings within and especially without academia.


Conceptual: To develop an understanding for the complexity of mechanisms underlying human behaviour, especially sexually dimorphic behaviour

Methodological: To understand the need to combine different methodological approaches. To appreciate the relevance of effect sizes.


Fisher, M.L., Garcia, J.R., Sokol-Chang R. (2013) Evolution’s Empress. Darwinian Perspectives on the Nature of Women. Oxford University Press.

Oberzaucher E. (2015) The Art of Science Communication. Human Ethology Bulletin 30(4): 1-7

“It’s not a Women’s Issue” Scientific American, September 2017

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Instructor information.

Elisabeth Oberzaucher


Elisabeth Oberzaucher studied zoology and anthropology at the universities of Vienna and Würzburg. After working as a scientist at the LBI for Urban Ethology she became a tenured lecturer at the University of Vienna. 2016 she joined the faculty of the University of Ulm. She is the scientific director of Urban Human and member of the science TV show “Science Busters”. Her research interests cover evolutionary gender studies, human-environment-interactions, physiological foundations of human behaviour, and communication and social behaviour.