Our group examines the evolutionary origins of the human mind. How do our primate relatives think about the world, are their psychological abilities similar to or different from our own, and why do species differ in their cognitive abilities? We aim to uncover the roots of humans’ unique cognitive phenotype, as well understand what evolutionary processes shape the emergence of different cognitive skills.
Our research uses a comparative approach drawing on evolutionary theory, cognitive science, and developmental psychology to understand the origins of complex, flexible behavior. We are especially focused on capacities supporting decision-making, executive control, and social cognition. To do this work, we study both humans and several semi-free-ranging ape, monkey, and lemur populations.
The Cognitive Evolution Group at the University of Michigan is directed by Dr. Alexandra Rosati. We are based in the the Biopsychology area in the Department of Psychology, and are also affiliated with the Biological Anthropology area in the Department of Anthropology.