bog-jennifer-davis.jpg Dr. Jennifer Davis graduated magna cum laude in Psychology from Cornell University and went on to earn a PhD in Psychology from McMaster University. She was a Research Scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany, in the Centre for Adaptive Behaviour and Cognition where she primarily worked on theoretical models of parental decision-making in humans and other animals. She continued this work at the Centre for Theoretical Biology at the Humboldt University, also in Berlin, before moving to Lethbridge to take up a position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Lethbridge where she conducted observational research to test the validity of her theoretical models. Other areas of research she has been involved in include heuristic decision-making, food preferences, the psychological factors affecting driver safety, personality and student program choice, student poverty, and transgender advocacy.

She has been an Instructor in the General Studies program at Lethbridge College since 2006 where she teaches a variety of Psychology courses. She has a number of academic publications and invited presentations and is currently involved in several collaborative research projects at Lethbridge College.


Areas of expertise

  • animal behaviour
  • decision-making
  • gender 
  • parenting
  • personality
  • prejudice and discrimination


Current research projects

Dr. Davis is currently involved in four distinct research projects at Lethbridge College. She is co-investigator on a cross-national SSHRC Insight grant to study the effects of parental advocacy on Canadian perceptions of transgender youth. In addition, together with General Studies Instructor Shaylene Wall she studies the relationship between personality and student program choice at Lethbridge College. She is also involved in a collaborative project between the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College studying the rates and effects of student poverty. Finally, she assists Criminal Justice Instructor Terry Dreaddy in his research on reducing student prejudice towards racial minorities.


Publications and presentations

Hertwig, R., Davis, J. N., & Sulloway, F. (2002). Parental investment: How an equality motive can produce inequality. Psychological Bulletin128, 728-745.

Davis, J.N., & Hammerstein, P. (2001). Review of Darwinism in Philosophy, Social Science, and Policy, by Alexander Rosenberg, and Evolution’s Eye : A systems view of the biology-culture divide, by Susan Oyama. Quarterly Review of Biology, 76, 477-478.

Davis, J.N.  (2000).  A few tips on hypothesis testing.  Commentary on: Gangestad & Simpson, The Evolution of Human Mating: Trade-Offs and Strategic Pluralism  Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 23, 600-601.

Davis, J. N., Todd, P. M., &  Bullock, S.  (1999). Environment quality predicts parental provisioning decisions.  Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, series B, 266, 1791-1797.

Bullock, S., Davis, J. N. & Todd, P. M. (1999). Simplicity rules the roost: Exploring birdbrain parental investment heuristics.  In D. Floreano,  J-D. Nicoud & F. Mondada (Eds.), Proceedings of the Fifth European Conference on Artificial Life (ECAL99).  Heidelberg: Springer Verlag.

Davis, J. N., & Todd, P. M. (1999). Parental investment by decision rules.  In G. Gigerenzer & P. M. Todd (Eds.), Simple heuristics that make us smart.  Oxford: Oxford  U niversity Press.

Goodie, A., Ortmann, A., Davis, J. N., Bullock, S., & Werner, G. M. (1999).  Demons versus heuristics in artificial intelligence, behavioral ecology, and economics.  In G. Gigerenzer & P. M. Todd (Eds.), Simple heuristics that make us smart.  Oxford:  Oxford University Press.

Davis, J. N.  (1997).  Birth order, sibship size and status in modern Canada.  Human Nature8, 205-230.

Davis, J. N., & Daly, M. (1997). Evolutionary theory and the human family. Quarterly Review of Biology72,  407-435.

Davis, J. N., & Quinn, J. S.  (1997). Distribution of parental investment and sibling competition in the herring gull,Larus argentatus.  Behaviour,134, 961-974. 

Werner, G. M., & Davis, J. N. (1997). Cooperation without memory.  In R. Conte, R. Hegselmann, & P. Terna (Eds.), Lecture notes in economics and mathematical systems:  Simulating social phenomena  (p. 179-185).  Berlin: Springer.

Davis-Walton, J., & Sherman, P. W. (1994).  Sleep arrhythmia in the eusocial naked mole-rat. Naturwissenschaften,  81, 272-275.

Invited presentations

Davis, J.N.  Effects of Age and Wealth on the Mother-Child Relationship:  a Three-Facet Analysis, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics Child Development Supplement Early Results Workshop, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, 2000, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Davis, J.N.  Birth Order and Biases in Parental Investment, or, Did Mom Really Like You Best?, Department of Biology, University of Liverpool, 2000, Liverpool, UK.

Davis, J.N.  Parental investment and the inequality of equality, Department of Psychology, University of Texas, Austin, 2000, Austin, Texas.

Davis, J.N.  What is evolutionary psychology?  Seminar in theoretical biology, Humboldt University, 1999, Berlin, Germany.

Davis, J.N.  Dilemmas of parental decision making.  Department of psychology, Vassar College, 1999, Poughkeepsee, New York.

Davis, J.N.  Evolutionary psychology, decision making, and parental investment. Department of psychology, Rutgers University, 1999, New Jersey.

Davis, J. N.  Evolutionary psychology and the social sciences.  Institute colloquium, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, 1998, Berlin, Germany.

Selected additional presentations

Davis, J. N. & Wall, S. Using the relationship between learner personality and program choice to foster success. Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Conference, 2016, London ON.

Davis, J. N. & Wall, S. Exploring the relationship between personality, program choice and student success. National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Conference, 2015, Austin TX.

Davis, J.N. Modeling the Brain: the use of kinesthetic learning strategies in the teaching of psychology. International Conference of the Teaching of Psychology, 2013, Vancouver BC.

Davis, J.N.  Explaining inter-individual differences in food preferences, or, how to get children to like their vegetables.  Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference, 2001, University College London, London, England.

Davis, J. N.  Birth order and the effects of maternal age on maternal investment. Human Behavior & Evolution Society Conference, 2000, Amherst, MA.

Davis, J.N., Hertwig, R., & Sulloway, F.J. Parental investment and the inequality of equality.  Human Behavior & Evolution Society Conference, 1999, Salt Lake City, UT.

Davis, J. N., Bullock, S., & Todd, P. M. Feed Me Now!:  Parental attention to offspring signals of need.  Human Behavior & Evolution Society Conference, 1998, Davis, CA.