Welcome to the Evolutionary Social Psychology (ESP) Lab at Michigan! We conduct experimental research on a variety of psychological topics that are informed by evolutionary thinking. In doing so, we ask not only what people do, but why and how our ancestral histories might have influenced such behaviors. We investigate questions such as:

  • How do ecological features, along with the threats and opportunities these features offer, shape thinking and behavior about others and ourselves?
    • For example… infectious disease concerns, sex ratios, resource scarcity, unpredictability.
    • What are the beliefs people hold about these ecological features?
    • How do we detect these features (e.g., using sensory processes)? Is this detection accurate or biased?
    • What happens when ecological features conflict with each other or with beliefs about these features?
  • How do people respond when evolved psychological mechanisms are mismatched to current environments?
  • What aspects of consumer decisions (e.g., in food choice) are affected by these types of ecological factors?

Interested in joining our lab?

  • Undergraduates — we recruit students each semester. We have finished recruiting for Fall 2022, but if you are interested for the Winter semester, please contact me in early November.
  • Prospective graduate students — I do not currently plan to take a student in 2023, though the plan may change depending on departmental priorities.
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