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?
- Are aspects of consumer decision-making (e.g., in food choice) affected by these same types of ecological factors?
If you are an undergraduate interested in joining our lab, please email me for more information! Prospective graduate students should apply to the Social Psychology area. I do not yet know if I will be accepting a graduate student in 2021 (and likely will not until late in the year). This depends largely on the extent of economic impact created by COVID-19.