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`Sex' Professor Hauser Tenured in Psychology

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Professor Marc D. Hauser was thankful that he knew the day's lecture subject like the back of his evolved hand.

As Hauser prepared to address his core course, Science B-29: "Human Behavioral Biology" last Friday, his students couldn't help but notice how giddy he seemed.

"He looked really happy," said Hillary R. Chart '01, a B-29 student. "He gave someone a hug, we saw."

Hauser had just been granted tenure as professor of psychology only 30 minutes earlier.

Whereas most tenures are announced in stuffy press releases to be reported in the next day's Crimson, Hauser's students learned first-hand the career-capping news.

Several students in the class, known colloquially as "Sex," said they first thought something was brewing when Hauser, although usually gregarious, appeared even more resplendent.

After a musical advertisement by the a capella group "Under Construction," class co-professor Irven DeVore then stepped up and addressed his students.

"I have an announcement of grave importance to the future of the intellectual life of Harvard," said DeVore, who is Moore professor of biological anthropology.

"It is that a junior professor in the ranks has been appointed to a tenured position in the "old boys club.'"

"The event we celebrate is almost as rare as the [Boston Red] Sox winning a pennant--that is a promotion from within the ranks," DeVore said.

"You know, to do that, you have to be a genius...not only in your own mind, but in the minds of the administration as well," he said.

Hauser then stepped forward to raucous applause.

"It was very exciting," the former associate professor said in an interview.

"I was very overwhelmed by the class response," Hauser said.

Under Construction then led over 400 assembled students in a boisterous round of "For He's A Jolly Good Fellow."

Hauser will continue to teach B-29 and a course in anthropological methodology.

Next year, Hauser plans to teach a course in the evolution of the mind.

Considered an expert in experimental design, Hauser is also reknown for analyzing how animals respond to mating calls and how they communicate to each other.

"He's a great experimentalist," said Richard W. Wrangham, professor of anthropology.

"He's very good at finding ingenious ways to use experiments to test ideas that other people have had about animal behavior," he said.

Hauser's colleagues lauded the decision to grant him tenure.

"[Hauser] is a superb scientist and we're just delighted that the psychology department was able promote him, and Dean Knowles was able to provide the position [Hauser will be] offered," said Peter T. Ellison, chair of the Anthropology Department.

DeVore said that Hauser's distinguishedacademic record and careful methodology immenselyimpressed the anthropology faculty.

"When we hired him in 1992, it was the resultof the search for a person in a quite differentfield and we were so impressed by Marc Hauser'scredentials and promise that we just dropped thecriteria and hired him," DeVore said.

After joining Harvard's Faculty as an assistantprofessor, Hauser became an associate professor ofanthropology and psychology and of the program inneuroscience in 1995.

The next year, he became a member of theinterdisciplinary faculty of the Mind, Brain andBehavior (MBB) program.

Hauser's primate behavior research has takenhim from the forests of Uganda to the islands ofPuerto Rico.

Hauser's multidisciplinary talents suit hisparticipation in the MBB initiative quite well,colleagues said.

"I think he's going to help take the MBBprogram on its path in a way that no otherindividual can," Wrangham said.

Hauser said he'll continue to focus on researchquestions which interest him most, including"show[ing] how the mind evolved using primates asa tool to what features of our own thoughts andemotions are unique and which ones are shared withother animals, in particular, primates," Hausersaid.

"Tenure frees up a little creativity," he said."It allows me to explore things."

Hauser graduated from Bucknell University in1981. He received his Ph.D. from UCLA in 1987 anddid post-doctoral work at the University ofCalifornia-Davis, Rockefeller University and theUniversity of Michigan.

Hauser has published a widely praised textbookabout language development in animals, titledThe Evolution of Community.

DeVore said that Hauser's distinguishedacademic record and careful methodology immenselyimpressed the anthropology faculty.

"When we hired him in 1992, it was the resultof the search for a person in a quite differentfield and we were so impressed by Marc Hauser'scredentials and promise that we just dropped thecriteria and hired him," DeVore said.

After joining Harvard's Faculty as an assistantprofessor, Hauser became an associate professor ofanthropology and psychology and of the program inneuroscience in 1995.

The next year, he became a member of theinterdisciplinary faculty of the Mind, Brain andBehavior (MBB) program.

Hauser's primate behavior research has takenhim from the forests of Uganda to the islands ofPuerto Rico.

Hauser's multidisciplinary talents suit hisparticipation in the MBB initiative quite well,colleagues said.

"I think he's going to help take the MBBprogram on its path in a way that no otherindividual can," Wrangham said.

Hauser said he'll continue to focus on researchquestions which interest him most, including"show[ing] how the mind evolved using primates asa tool to what features of our own thoughts andemotions are unique and which ones are shared withother animals, in particular, primates," Hausersaid.

"Tenure frees up a little creativity," he said."It allows me to explore things."

Hauser graduated from Bucknell University in1981. He received his Ph.D. from UCLA in 1987 anddid post-doctoral work at the University ofCalifornia-Davis, Rockefeller University and theUniversity of Michigan.

Hauser has published a widely praised textbookabout language development in animals, titledThe Evolution of Community.

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