We explore the origins of human social cognition and behavior, with a focus on cooperation as a hallmark of human nature. What motivates individuals to help others? What enables teamwork and trust in others? How do humans develop a sense of fairness?
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 comparisons to illuminate the cultural and societal factors shaping children’s behaviors. Last but not least, we study chimpanzees to understand what aspects are human-unique versus shared with our evolutionary relatives. By integrating these different lines of research, we can yield insights into the developmental, evolutionary, and cultural foundation of human social life.