• Welcome to the APE Lab!

    Ayers Psychology & Evolution Lab
  • About the APE Lab

    We study the behavioral manifestations of genetic conflict - or how the genes we inherit from our parents “fight” with each other and the impact that this conflict has on behavior and psychological processes. You can learn more about some of the nuances in genetic conflict here. Specifically, we are interested in how understanding how these “disagreements” at the genetic level influence the ways individuals grow, develop, behave, and, ultimately, influence their social relationships during their lives including maternal-fetal relationships, familial and affinal (in-law) relationships, and friendships and rivalries.

  • Dr. Jessica D. Ayers

    Director and PI

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    Dr. Jessica D. Ayers is an Evolutionary Social Psychologist and the director of the APE Lab at Boise State University. As an undergraduate, Dr. Ayers realized that she was interested in one simple question: why do people act the way they do? Her interest in this question led Dr. Ayers to earn her bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Anthropology and her M.A. in Experimental Psychology from California State University, Fullerton, and her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Arizona State University.


    Find out more about Dr. Ayers at www.jessicadayers.org or @JessicaDAyers

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    APE Lab members Fall 2023

    Left to right: Dr. Ayers, Madelyn Cardwell, Erin Pooley

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    APE Lab members Spring 2023

    Left to right: Conner Avila, Glenn Reese, Zoe Lister, Madelyn Cardwell, Caley Lynch, Abigail Elliott, Megan Hughes, Dr. Ayers
    Not pictured: Elyse Englestadter

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    APE Lab members Fall 2022

    Left to right: Dr. Ayers, Abigail Elliott, Madelyn Cardwell, Ranya Al-Mandawi, Megan Hughes
    Not pictured: Megan Kirtner, Stela Nina

  • Recent Lab Publications

    Here are some of the recently published lab research projects. Please see Dr. Ayers' Google Scholar profile for a complete list of her publications.

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    How do you build the perfect friend? Evidence from two forced-choice decision-making experiments

    Published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships in April 2024.

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    How genetic conflict theory can inform studies of human nature

    Published in Perspectives on Psychological Science in February 2024.

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    COVID-19 and friendships: Agreeableness and neuroticism are associated with more concern about COVID-19 and friends' risky behaviors

    Published in Personality and Individual Differences in October 2023.

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    Competitive scenarios increase competition in women: A meta-analysis

    Published in Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences in early 2023.

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    A factor analytic examination of women's and men's friendship preferences

    Published in Personality and Individual Differences in February 2023.

  • Recent Lab SciComm

    Here are some of our recent science communication (SciComm) publications from the lab.

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    Friendship research is getting an update – and that’s key for dealing with the loneliness epidemic

    SciComm piece published in The Conversation that discusses why more research on friendship is needed to address loneliness.

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    Pregnancy is a genetic battlefield – how conflicts of interest pit mom’s and dad’s genes against each other

    SciComm piece published in The Conversation that discusses what genetic conflict is.

  • APE Lab Blog

    Read about the independent research projects that research assistants are working on in the lab!

    Welcome to the APE lab blog! Here, you'll be able to find out more information about projects...
    I’m Maddy, and I’ve been an RA in the APE lab since the fall of 2022. In my foray into the...
  • Student Resources

    Here are some resources for students interested in the lab.

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    APA formatting cheat sheet (7th edition)

    Please refer to this cheat sheet to learn the basics of AP style.

  • Join the APE Lab!

    If you are interested in joining the APE Lab as a research assistant, please reach out to Dr. Ayers directly with any questions. You can also read more about the APE Lab culture and values in the APE Lab manual.


    If you are ready to apply, please download the application below and send it to Dr. Ayers directly.

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    Lab manual

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