The overarching goal of my research is to provide a social psychological perspective on cultural transmission. I am interested in how human unique forms of culture emerge and, in consequence, where differences between cultural groups come from. In order to investigate these questions, my collaborators and I conduct research into social learning and social motivation in infants, young children and adults.
- Social imitation: I am interested in the motivations and preferences that underlie children’s tendency to copy other people. In this work, I explore how children use imitation as a means by which to affiliate with those around them and form long lasting bonds with their group members.
- Social motivation: I explore children’s sensitivity to social exclusion, as well as the types of strategies they use to avoid exclusion from the group. In recent work, I have been investigating cross-cultural differences in these social motivations in children and adults.
- Intergroup cognition and behaviour: I conduct research into how children respond to members of their own group relative to members of other groups, as well as into the types of expectations they have about social groups.
I am affiliated with the Minerva research group on the social origins of cultural cognition.
I have recently been awarded an ESRC Future Research Leaders grant.
- Jonathan Beier, University of Maryland
- Malinda Carpenter, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
- Yarrow Dunham, Yale University
- Daniel Haun, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
- Michael Tomasello, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
- Ayse Uskul, University of Kent
- Antonia Misch, Maria Ploetner, Nadja Richter, Ruiting Song, Minerva research group on the social origins of cultural cognition, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology