Mr Severi Luoto

MA University of Vaasa

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Doctoral Candidate - Doctor of Philosophy


Combining evolutionary theory with the psychological study of human behavior and culture, Severi commenced doctoral studies at the University of Auckland in December 2015. He collaborates with an interdisciplinary research group in Northern Europe. He has acted as a postgraduate student representative at the University of Auckland Research Committee, where he has been actively involved in shaping university-level research strategy. Severi's research encompasses diverse topics in evolutionary-developmental psychology, biological psychology, cultural evolution, cognitive psychology, psycholinguistics, behavioral neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and evolutionary-developmental origins of health and disease.

Research | Current

Dissertation in preparation, working title "Psycholinguistic sex differences and sexual orientation differences in literary fiction"

Supervisor Distinguished Professor Brian Boyd

Supervisor Professor Quentin Atkinson

Adviser Dr Markus J. Rantala


Forthcoming (selected)

  • Luoto, S., Rantala, M. J., & Krams, I. (2019). England first, America second: The ecological predictors of life history and innovation. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. [Commentary]. In press. Preprint doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.21280.02560/1
  • Luoto, S. & Jonason, P. K. (forthcoming). Intelligence as a psychological mechanism for ecotheory of creativity. Preprint doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.14717.61928



  • Grant, A. & Luoto, S. (2019). Brian Boyd. In: Shackelford, T. & Weekes-Shackelford, V. (Eds.). Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science. Springer, Cham.
  • Luoto, S., Krams, I., & Rantala, M. J. (2019). Response to Commentaries: Life History Evolution, Causal Mechanisms, and Female Sexual Orientation. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 48(5), 1335-1347.
  • Trakimas, G., Krama, T., Haque, S., Krams, R., Elferts, D., Kortet, R., Luoto, S., ... & Krams, I. (2019). Ecological stoichiometry: A link between developmental speed and physiological stress in an omnivorous insect. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Luoto, S. (2019). Response to Commentaries: Life history genetics, fluid intelligence, and extended phenotypes. Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, 5(1), 112-115
  • Luoto, S. (2019). An updated theoretical framework for human sexual selection: From ecology, genetics, and life history to extended phenotypes. Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, 5(1), 48-102[Target Article].
  • Krams, I., Luoto, S., Rubika, A., Krama, T., Elferts, D., Kecko, S., Skrinda, I., Moore, F., Krams, R., & Rantala, M. J. (2019). A head start for life history development? Family income mediates associations between body height and immune response in men. American Journal of Physical Anthropology168(3), 421-427.
  • Luoto, S., Krams, I., & Rantala, M. J. (2019). A life history approach to the female sexual orientation spectrum: Evolution, development, causal mechanisms, and health. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 48(5), 1273–1308. [Target Article].
  • Krams, I., Rantala, M. J., Luoto, S., & Krama, T. (2018). Fat is not just an energy store. Journal of Experimental Biology221(12), jeb183756. doi: 10.1242/jeb.183756
  • Krams, I., Trakimas, G., Kecko, S., Elferts, D., Krams, R., Luoto, S., Rantala, M. J., Mänd, M., Kuusik, A., Krama, T., Kekäläinen, J., & Kortet, R. (2018). Linking organismal growth, coping styles, stress reactivity, and metabolism via responses against a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor in an insect. Scientific Reports, 8, 8599.
  • Luoto, S. & Spriggs, M. J. (2018). Commentary: The neural basis of human female mate copying: An empathy-based social learning process. Frontiers in Psychology, 9: 397. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00397
  • Luoto, S. & Rantala, M. J. (2018). On estrogenic masculinization of the human brain and behavior. Hormones and Behavior, 97, 1-2.
  • Luoto, S., Karlsson, H., Krams, I., & Rantala, M. J. (2018). Depression subtyping based on evolutionary psychiatry: From reactive short-term mood change to depression. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 69, 630. doi:
  • Rantala, M. J., Luoto, S., Krams, I., & Karlsson, H. (2018). Depression subtyping based on evolutionary psychiatry: Proximate mechanisms and ultimate functions. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 69, 603-617. doi:
  • Rantala, M. J., Luoto, S., & Krams, I. (2017). An evolutionary approach to clinical pharmacopsychology. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatism, 86(6), 370-371. doi:
  • Luoto, S. (2017). Commentary: Beauty requires thought. Frontiers in Psychology, 8: 1281. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01281
  • Luoto, S. & Rantala, M. J. (2017). Specificity of women’s sexual response: Proximate mechanisms and ultimate causes. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 46(5), 1195-1198. doi: 10.1007/s10508-017-0961-1
  • Krams, I. et al. (2017). Food quality affects the expression of antimicrobial peptide genes upon simulated parasite attack in the larvae of greater wax moth. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 165(2-3), 129-137. doi: 10.1111/eea.12629
  • Cirule, D. et al. (2017). Habitat quality affects stress responses and survival in a bird wintering under extremely low ambient temperatures. The Science of Nature, 104:99. doi:
  • Krams, I. et al. (2017). Microbiome symbionts and diet diversity incur costs on the immune system of insect larvae. Journal of Experimental Biology, 220, 4204-4212. doi: 10.1242/jeb.169227
  • Kecko, S. et al. (2017). Sex-specific compensatory growth in the larvae of the greater wax moth Galleria mellonellaJournal of Evolutionary Biology, 30(10), 1910-1918. doi: 10.1111/jeb.13150
  • Krams, I. et al. (2017). Reproduction compromises adaptive immunity in a cyprinid fish. Ecological Research32(4), 559-566. doi: 10.1007/s11284-017-1467-y. 
  • Krams, I. et al. (2017). Metabolic rate associates with, but does not generate, covariation between behaviours in western stutter-trilling crickets, Gryllus integer. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 284(1851), 20162481.
  • Krams, I. et al. (2016). Short-term exposure to predation affects body elemental composition, climbing speed and survival ability in Drosophila melanogaster. PeerJ, 4, e2314.
  • Krams, I. et al. (2016). A dark cuticle allows higher investment in immunity, longevity and fecundity in a beetle upon a simulated parasite attack. Oecologia, 182(1), 99–109.


Media coverage

"Miksi vaurastumisen hyöky nousi juuri Britanniasta? Koska siellä oli varaa ajatella, kuuluu uusi selitys” Helsingin Sanomat

“Sexual orientation may be set by sex hormones in the uterus” New Zealand Herald

“Origins of female homosexuality” University of Auckland

"Butch ja femme ovat perusteltuja kategorioita tutkimuksessa" Helsingin Sanomat

"'Kun norsu on posliini­kaupassa, relevantti kysymys ei ole, onko se oikeassa' – Tutkijat kommentoivat teoriaa butch- ja femme-lesbouden biologisesta alkuperästä" Helsingin Sanomat

“Suomalaiset tutkijat loivat teorian butch- ja femme-lesbouden biologisesta alkuperästä – ‘Tämän suorempia todisteita tiede ei voi koskaan tarjota’” Helsingin Sanomat

"Wednesday’s papers: Tele-marketing fraud, gender inequality, lesbianism and foreign-born crickets" YLE

"Academics see better treatment options after finding 12 subtypes of depression" New Zealand Herald

"The 'major' consequences of how we understand depression" The Sydney Morning Herald

"Depression not a single disease: experts" SBS

"Depression treatment needs overhaul" Medical Xpress

“Depression better treated as 12 separate disorders” New Zealand Doctor Online

“Psychologists challenge one-size-fits-all definition of 'major depression'” 6 Minutes

"No one way to treat depression - NZ study” Newshub

"The 'major' consequences of how we understand depression" WAtoday

“Masennus ei ole yksi vaan 12 eri sairautta – kaikki ne vaativat myös erilaiset hoidot, sanovat suomalaistutkijat” Helsingin Sanomat

"More stress and lower survival rates for birds in young, managed forests" Phys Org


Teaching | Current

Graduate teaching assistant 2016-2017

ENGLISH 207/311: Creating Stories


  • Emil Aaltonen Foundation, Young Researcher Grant, 2019-2020
  • Best student paper at The Northeastern Evolutionary Psychology Society's 13th Annual Evolutionary Behavioral Science Conference. Boston, US; June 2019. Award given by Feminist Evolutionary Psychology Society (FEPS) on a presentation titled “A life history approach to the female sexual orientation spectrum”.
  • Emil Aaltonen Foundation, Young Researcher Grant, 2018-2019
  • Web of Science, Highly Cited Paper (Top 1% in Behavior and Neuroscience in 2018): Rantala, M. J., Luoto, S., Krams, I., & Karlsson, H. (2018). Depression subtyping based on evolutionary psychiatry: Proximate mechanisms and ultimate functions. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity69, 603-617.
  • ResearchGate, September 2018. Top publication at University of Auckland, University of Tarto, and University of Turku: Luoto, S., Krams, I., & Rantala, M. J. (2018). A Life History Approach to the Female Sexual Orientation Spectrum: Evolution, Development, Causal Mechanisms, and Health. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 1-36. [Target Article]. 
  • Postgraduate International Networks Mobility Fund (PINMF), University of Auckland, 2018-2019
  • University of Auckland Doctoral Academic Leadership Initiative (DALI), 2017
  • Academic Career Exploration Scholarship, 2017
  • Otto A. Malm Foundation Grant for scientific research, 2016-2017
  • Faculty of Arts Doctoral Scholarship, University of Auckland, 2016-2017
  • University of Auckland Doctoral Bursary, 2015-2018

Areas of expertise

  • Life history evolution
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Biological psychology
  • Evolutionary biology
  • Evolutionary medicine
  • Developmental origins of health and disease
  • Cognitive psychology
  • Sexual selection
  • Female sexual orientation
  • Behavioral neuroscience
  • Psycholinguistics

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • Scientific Reports, Reviewer
  • Evolutionary Psychological Science, Reviewer
  • Language, Cognition and Culture Lab, University of Auckland, School of Psychology, 2016-present
  • University of Auckland Research Committee, 2016-2018
  • University of Auckland Student Consultative Group, 2017-2018
  • Postgraduate Students' Association, Doctoral Induction Day Officer, 2016-2018
  • Modern Language Association
  • Behavior Genetics Association
  • European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association
  • Human Behavior and Evolution Society
  • The International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Luoto, T. S. (2017). Sensory and cognitive pleasures as catalysts for reproductive motivation systems. Paper presented at MLA annual convention, Philadelphia, US. 5 January - 8 January 2017. Related URL.
  • Luoto, S., Rantala, M. J., & Krams, I. (21/6/2016). Female homosexuality: A testosterone-mediated fast life history strategy?. Poster presented at 46th Annual Behavior Genetics Meeting, Brisbane, Australia. Related URL.


Contact details

Office hours

By appointment.

Primary office location

ARTS 1 - Bldg 206
Level 6, Room 616
New Zealand

Social links

Web links