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?
- How do we think about and use experiences to inform our self-understanding and as signals to others?
- Are aspects of consumer decision-making (e.g., in food choice) affected by these same types of factors?
If you are an undergraduate interested in joining our lab, please email our lab manager, Angelina, for more information! Prospective graduate students should apply to the Social Psychology area. However, I will not be taking new graduate students for 2020.