Pete Hurd, PhD, MSc, BSc

Professor, Faculty of Science - Psychology Science


Professor, Faculty of Science - Psychology Science
(780) 492-3578
P-449 Bio Science - Psychology Wing
11355 - Saskatchewan Drive
Edmonton AB
T6G 2E9



(My personal homepage and lab web pages, and full publication list)

I am by training a field biologist. My early research studied the behaviour of animals in their natural environment. Jane Goodall was my role model and hero for much of my early education, and remains so. My research career then turned to pencil and paper mathematical modelling of the evolution of behaviour using formal game theory. I've also modelled the evolution of threats —and other communication strategies between individuals with conflicting interests— using neural networks, genetic algorithms, and stochastic dynamic programming models. For the last 15 to 20 years I've studied the neuroscience, genetics, and development of individual differences in behaviour, personality differences, in humans and other animals.

I've been at the University of Alberta since 2001, and am currently in the Department of Psychology, and am a member of the Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute. I am a co-investigator with the Kule Institute for Advanced Study group Research at the Intersections of Gender, and also Principal Investigator on a Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund grant (with Deanna Singhal) to improve statistical and methods pedagogy throughout the Department's undergraduate program.



Members of the Sex & Violence Lab conduct research in the broad areas of neuroscience, behavioural ecology, genetics and personality in both human and non-human animals. Personality-like traits that we are particularly interested in include aggressiveness and stress coping style. We are interested in how the developmental process of sexual differentiation produces personalities, brains, and bodies on a non-binary male-to-female spectrum, and how exposure to stressors early in life shapes adult personality and physiology.

Using both humans and cichlid fish as research subjects, members of my lab investigate the links between environmental influences, genes, hormones, brain and behaviour. My work has examined how individual variation in social behaviour:

  • evolves — through the use of game theoretical models,
  • is tied to genetic variation — through the use of molecular genetics,
  • is tied to brain structure and function — using a variety of neuroscience techniques, and
  • is influenced during development by environmental factors.

Some of my older research with my grad student, Allie Bailey, covered by the BBC, the New York Times, Discover Magazine, Scientific American Mind, National Geographic and Jay Leno.


A list of courses I have taught, some words about my teaching philosophy etc. are on my Teaching Page, a collection of gathered wisdom for students on the general topic of learning and scholarship can be found on my Page of Assorted Cruft.


Student Opportunities: Openings for Graduate and Undergraduate students, and funded Postdocs, exist in the lab (click for more information).


PSYCO 104 - Basic Psychological Processes

Principles and development of perception, motivation, learning, and thinking and their relationship to the psychological functioning of the individual. Fulfillment of the 1/4 laboratory credit typically entails serving as a research participant, but can be fulfilled through the completion of alternative assignments. The course is a prerequisite to all courses in the department and is normally followed by PSYCO 105. [Faculty of Science]

Fall Term 2021
PSYCO 372 - Behavior in Relation to Genetics

An examination of the influence of genetic variations on behavioral differences in infra-human and human populations. Prerequisites: PSYCO 104 or SCI 100 and PSYCO 105 and STAT 141 or 151 or 161 or SCI 151 and BIOL 207. [Faculty of Science]

Fall Term 2021 Winter Term 2022

Browse more courses taught by Pete Hurd


SHANK3 genotype mediates speech and language phenotypes in a non-clinical population
Author(s): Manning C, Hurd PL, Read S, Crespi BJ.
Publication Date: 6/4/2021
Publication: Autism Research and Treatment
Volume: 2021
Page Numbers: 6634584
External Link:
Cognitive empathy as imagination: evidence from Reading the Mind in the Eyes in autism and schizotypy.
Author(s): Nahal P, Hurd PL, Read S, Crespi BJ.
Publication Date: 4/1/2021
Publication: Frontiers in Psychiatry
External Link:
EEG in motion: Using an oddball task to explore motor interference in active skateboarding.
Author(s): Robles D, Kuziek JWP, Wlasitz NA, Bartlett NT, Hurd PL, Mathewson, KE
Publication Date: 2/28/2021
Publication: European Journal of Neuroscience
External Link:
Epigenetic regulation of gonadal and brain aromatase expression in a cichlid fish with environmental sex determination
Author(s): Driscoll RMH, Faber-Hammond JJ, O’Rourke CF, Hurd PL, Renn SCP.
Publication Date: 9/15/2020
Publication: General and Comparative Endocrinology
Volume: 296
Page Numbers: 113538
External Link:
Juvenile stress disrupts the development of an exploration-boldness behavioural syndrome in convict cichlid fish
Author(s): Hope BV, Fjellner KL, Renn SCP, Hurd PL.
Publication Date: 3/1/2020
Publication: Animal Behaviour
Volume: 161
Page Numbers: 95-102
External Link:
AMBRA1, autophagy, and the extreme male brain theory of autism.
Author(s): Crespi BJ, Read S, Ly A, Hurd PL
Publication Date: 10/10/2019
Publication: Autism Research and Treatment
External Link:
Genetic variation of UBE3A is associated with schizotypy in a population of typical individuals
Author(s): Salminen I, Read S, Hurd PL, Crespi, BJ.
Publication Date: 5/1/2019
Publication: Psychiatry Research
Volume: 275
Page Numbers: 94-99
External Link:
⁠Segregating polymorphism in the NMDA receptor gene GRIN2A, schizotypy, and mental rotation among healthy individuals
Author(s): Jha A, Read S, Hurd PL, Crespi BJ.
Publication Date: 8/1/2018
Publication: Neuropsychologia
Volume: 117
Page Numbers: 347–351
External Link:
A genetic locus for paranoia.
Author(s): Crespi BJ, Read S, Salminen I, Hurd PL.
Publication: Biology Letters
Volume: 14
Page Numbers: 20170694.
External Link:
Are there consistent behavioural differences between sexes and male colour morphs in Pelvicachromis pulcher?
Author(s): Seaver CMS, Hurd PL.
Publication: Zoology
Volume: 122
Page Numbers: 115-125
External Link:
Isotocin neuronal phenotypes differ among social systems in cichlid fishes.
Author(s): Reddon AR, O’Connor CM, Nesjan E, Cameron J, Hellmann JK, Ligocki IY, Marsh-Rollo SE, Hamilton IM, Wylie DR, Hurd PL, Balshine S.
Publication: Royal Society Open Science
Volume: 4
Page Numbers: 170350.
External Link: