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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. Currently we are full for Fall 2021.
  • Prospective graduate students — I do hope to take a student for 2022. The best fit would be applicants interested in the psychological influence of ecological factors such as infectious disease/pathogen threat.
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