• E-mailLarissa.Straffon@uib.no
  • Phone+47 55 58 32 35
  • Visitor Address
    Christies gate 12
    5015 Bergen
  • Postal Address
    Postboks 7807
    5020 Bergen

I am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Psychosocial Science, in affiliation with the Centre for Early Sapiens Behaviour SapienCE. I work with PI Dr. Andrea Bender in the interdisciplinary project The Symbolic Mind, Cognition, and Social Organisation.

My main research interest is the origins of visual art practices, which I see as a good case study for understanding human cognitive and cultural evolution, in general. At UiB/ SapienCE, I am currently working on the emergence of visual symbolism in evolution and development. I also conduct research on different affective and cognitive aspects of the aesthetic experience in collaboration with Dr. Mariska Kret of the Cognitvie Psychology and Affective Neuroscience Lab (CoPAN) at Leiden University.

My doctoral thesis dealt with evolutionary models of the origins of visual art, and was completed at Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society, in the Netherlands. I obtained a Master’s degree in Human Origins at the Faculty of Archaeology of Leiden University, and I hold a licentiate degree in archaeology from the National School of Anthropology and History (ENAH), in Mexico City.

Academic article
  • Show author(s) (2021). The Peacock Fallacy: Art as a Veblenian Signal. Frontiers in Psychology. 5320 .
Popular scientific lecture
  • Show author(s) (2021). Ochre Across Deep Time: A conversation exploring ochre's enduring role in human behavior and evolution, and in protecting Earth-systems knowledge.
Academic lecture
  • Show author(s) (2021). When, how and why did symbolic practices emerge and become more complex?
  • Show author(s) (2021). Visual art origins: Assessing cognition, communication, and material culture.
  • Show author(s) (2021). The dual role of culture for (early) human cognition.
  • Show author(s) (2021). Human cognition: species or culture specific?
  • Show author(s) (2021). Cognitive and Cultural Diversity in Human Evolution.
  • Show author(s) (2020). Unravelling past cognition: Approaches across disciplines.
  • Show author(s) (2020). The Symbolic Capacity as a Basis of Human Cognition in Evolution and Development.
  • Show author(s) (2020). Enculturing cognition: integrating material culture in human cognitive evolution.

More information in national current research information system (CRIStin)

Selected publications 

Mendoza Straffon, L. (2019). Evolution and the Origins of Visual Art: An archaeological perspective. Handbook of Evolutionary Research in Archaeology. A. Prentiss (Ed.), Springer. Pp. 407-435.

Mendoza Straffon, L. (2019). The Uses of Cultural Phylogenetics in Archaeology. Handbook of Evolutionary Research in Archaeology. A. Prentiss (Ed.), Springer. Pp. 149-160.

Kret, M. & L. Mendoza Straffon (2018). Reply to Crivelli et al.: The different faces of fear and threat. Evolutionary and cultural insights. Journal of Human Evolution. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2017.11.006

Mendoza Straffon, L. (2016). The Applications and Challenges of Cultural Phylogenetics in Archaeology: An Introduction. Cultural Phylogenetics: Concepts and Applications in Archaeology. L. Mendoza Straffon (Ed.), Interdisciplinary Evolution Research, Springer. Pp. 1-15.

Mendoza Straffon, L. (2016). Signalling in Style: On Cooperation, Identity and the Origins of Visual Art. Understanding Cultural Traits: A Multidisciplinary Perspective on Cultural Diversity. F. Panebianco & E. Serrelli (Eds.), Springer. Pp. 356-374.

Mendoza Straffon, L. (2014). Art in the Making: The Evolutionary Origins of Visual Art as Communication Signal. Amsterdam University Press. ISBN 978-90- 8555-090-7