What enables teamwork and trust? How do humans develop a sense of fairness? What motivates individuals to help others? In the Social Minds Lab, we explore the origins of human social cognition and behavior, with a focus on cooperation as a hallmark of human nature.

We study children to gain insight into the origins of social behaviors and the factors that shape them over development. In addition, we conduct cross-cultural studies to illuminate the cultural and societal factors shaping children’s behaviors. Last but not least, we study chimpanzees to understand what aspects of social behaviors are unique to humans versus shared with our evolutionary relatives. By integrating these different lines of research, we can yield insights into the developmental, cultural, and evolutionary foundation of human social life. 

In the News

Our research on the origins of trust is featured in U of M News