Population scientists seek to understand how social influences change human biology leading to effects on health and well-being. This research requires novel data collection, integrating biomarkers into social surveys or using animals as models for human biology.
Two main areas of work are (1) understanding how health unfolds over the life course, especially in response to environmental events and conditions; and (2) how social status affects health. We seek to understand these processes in primates as well as human populations. This work focuses on establishing the mechanisms for these relationships which is essential in order to develop interventions that succeed in improving population health.
DPRC faculty have contributed important original data collections that take this “long, broad, and deep” view of how social and contextual factors get under the skin. New projects are incorporating more lifespan developmental factors such as executive functioning and conscientiousness. The population sciences increasingly recognize that noncognitive skills developed early in life are important for both human capital development and later health. DPRC scientists are paving the way in developing rigorous data collection and analysis strategies to achieve this aim.
Visit our Research Projects page for detailed descriptions