My area of specialization is Biological Anthropology. My cross-cultural, interdisciplinary research program and expertise in this broad subdiscipline are in human evolutionary biology, life-history theory, behavioral endocrinology, childhood development, and psychobiology. Often, I utilize naturalistic field studies, such as sports, as a proxy for aggression and psychological stress to compare how children and adults differ/parallel in how their bodies and brains respond to social challenges.
Testosterone, estrogens, and cortisol are typically associated with energetic mobilization, aggression, and stress in the adult human and non-human animal literature. Children are also competitive, yet their gonads have not been fully activated. Consequently, children have low levels of testosterone and estrogens. Thus, I am interested in understanding how alternative hormone mediators underpin competitive behavior and regulate stressors during middle childhood prior to pubertal maturation.
To assess this question, I investigate adrenal hormone functional roles during physical and nonphysical social challenges, such as sports, academic, and eSports competitions. I design quasi-experimental studies in Hong Kong and USA to investigate pre- and post-salivary hormone competition effects with measures of stress appraisal, in- and out-group competitor type, performance, and winner and loser effects.