Felix Warneken studies the origins of human social behavior, with a focus on the development and evolution of cooperation and morality. He uses developmental and cross-cultural studies with children, as well as comparative studies with nonhuman apes. He completed his Ph.D. and postdoctoral training at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. Before coming to Michigan, he was an assistant and later associate professor of psychology at Harvard University.

He has received several awards, including an NSF CAREER Award, the Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions from the Association for Psychological Science, and the Boyd McCandless Award by the American Psychological Association.


Felix Warneken

Principal Investigator, warneken@umich.edu



Sebastian Grüneisen CV
Post Doctoral Researcher, sgruenei@umich.edu

Sebastian studied psychology at Northumbria University and the University of St Andrews in the UK, and completed his PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. His research investigates the developmental and evolutionary origins of human cooperation. To this end, he adapts game theory paradigms for experimental studies with children and nonhuman great apes, particularly chimpanzees. Using this approach, he aims at uncovering the cognitive and motivational components underlying cooperative decision-making in humans and our closest evolutionary relatives.


Nicole Wen  Website
Post Doctoral Researcher, nwen@umich.edu

Nicole received her B.S. in Psychology, B.A. in Plan II Honors, and then completed her Ph.D. in Cognitive and Developmental Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. Nicole is interested in the development of social cognition and is particularly interested in the role of cultural conventions in children’s prosocial behaviors and cooperation with in- and out-group members. Nicole’s dissertation research explored how children identify and acquire rituals to affiliate with social groups and how evaluations of imitation in social learning differ across the lifespan and cultures, in the U.S. and Vanuatu.


Young-eun Lee   CV
Graduate Student, leeyeun@umich.edu

Young-eun is a PhD student in Developmental Psychology at the University of Michigan. She got her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Yonsei University, South Korea. Prior to joining UM, she received her master’s degrees in Psychology from Yonsei University and Harvard University. Young-eun studies the development of altruistic punishment in children. She is particularly interested in children’s enforcement of social norms (e.g., fairness norms) and its underlying mechanisms.


Sarah Probst  CV
Graduate Student, saprobst@umich.edu

Sarah is a first year PhD student at the University of Michigan. She received her B.S. in Psychology with Honors from the University of Pittsburgh in 2017 and then worked as project coordinator of the Social Development Lab at the University at Buffalo. Here at UM she is interested in studying the cognitive mechanisms influencing prosocial behavior in infants and toddlers.


Luke Quarles  CV
Lab Managerquarlesl@umich.edu

Luke is the lab manager for the Social Minds Lab. He received his bachelor’s degrees in psychology and animal behavior ecology and conservation from Canisius College and has studied social behavior in both children and chimpanzees. Luke is interested in the development of social cognition, particularly with regard to cooperation.



Perry Bower
Research Assistant

Perry is a junior studying biopsychology, cognition, and neuroscience at the University of Michigan. Her academic interests lie in regular and irregular adolescent development, the neural underpinnings of psychopathology, and the implications these may have within the judicial system.