Sefcek, Jon A.
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KeywordsPima Community College Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences Adjunct Instructor Individual Trait Differences Arizona South
Early Life and Educational Background
Sefcek was born on July 9, 1974, in Lakewood, Ohio. Originally, he went to college at the University of Florida with the intent on working toward a degree in economics. However, after 2 years down this path, he realized his educational interests lied elsewhere and moved to Cincinnati, OH, to complete his B.A. in psychology and biology, which he completed in 1998. During this time, he worked at the Cincinnati Zoo at a variety of tasks ranging from raising penguins and other birds to working with walrus, bonobos, and other primates. Given these diverse experiences, he became interested in the emerging approach of evolutionary psychology; especially as it related to comparative research. He then went on to earn his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in 2002 and 2007 under the guidance of Drs James King, Aurelio Jose Figueredo, and W. Jake Jacobs.
While in graduate school, Sefcek worked as an adjunct instructor at The University of Arizona South, teaching courses on evolutionary psychology and abnormal psychology. Sefcek then taught as a visiting professor at Miami University (2007–2008) and Hamilton College (2009–2010), with a year in between working as an adjunct instructor at Pima Community College and Research Associate at the University of Arizona. Since 2010, Sefcek has been in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Kent State University at Ashtabula. He has published work in a variety of journals such as Personality and Individual Differences, Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, the American Journal of Primatology, and Biodemography and Social Biology.
Sefcek’s primary research interests are in three interrelated areas: (1) life-history strategy, (2) mate choice as it relates to individual differences and fitness indicator theory (e.g., life-history strategy, personality, intelligence, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, physical and psychological health), and (3) comparative psychology as it relates to individual differences. Although seemingly disparate, an overarching evolutionary framework connects these topics in an integrated manner. Life-history strategies relate to the manner in which organisms channel limited bioenergetics and physical resources toward survival and reproduction. As such, Sefcek’s research has examined ways in which individual differences in these strategies may be measured via self-reports, validated using psychometric methods, and applied to other theoretically related individual difference traits (e.g., physical and psychological health). Further, it allows an exploration of predictive nature of these strategies in relation to mate-choice criteria, such as the personality traits found attractive in potential mates as a function of and an overarching life-history strategy. Finally, through the application of comparative methods, some of his research examines the similarity and dissimilarity in individual difference traits between humans and other closely related species, such as chimpanzees. This later interest stems from his work as a graduate student in which he worked with the Jane Goodall Institute’s ChimpanZoo Program in which he examined personality, psychopathology, and facial symmetry in zoo chimpanzees.
- Figueredo, A. J., Wolf, P. S. A., Olderbak, S. G., Sefcek, J. A., Frías-Armenta, M., Vargas-Porras, C., & Egan. (2015). Positive assortative pairing in social and romantic partners: A cross-cultural observational study of naturally occurring pairs. Personality and Individual Differences, 84, 30–35. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2014.12.060.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Sefcek, J. A., Black, C. J., & Wolf, P. S. (2015). Evolutionary personality psychology: Current theories and future directions. In V. Zeigler-Hill, L. Welling, & T. K. Shackelford (Eds.), Evolutionary perspectives on social psychology. New York: Springer.Google Scholar