Alumni

Emma Buchtel

Dr. Emma Buchtel is an Assistant Professor at the Hong Kong Institute of Education. Her research interests include culture’s effects on motivation, morality, and values, with a focus on improving cross-cultural understanding.
http://www.ied.edu.hk/ps/view.php?m=646&secid=1134

Joey Cheng

My primary research interests focus on the emergence of status hierarch innings of leadership and followership (e.g., pride, humility, admiration, respect), and the implications of hierarchies on group performance and individual motivation.
joeycheng [at] psych.ubc.ca

Maciek Chudek

I use the empirical toolkits of developmental and social psychology and math models of culture-gene coevolution to study how humans evolved, and why they behave in such peculiar ways.

On the ground that means that I develop formal mathematical models of the evolutionary processes that turned run-of-the-mill primates into culture-sharing, language-using beasts like us. I draw predictions from these models about the traces those ancient processes should have left on modern psychology, and then I observe the behaviour of children (usually 3 to 5 year olds) and adults (usually undergraduate students) to see whether those predictions bear out.

Robin Curtis

Robin graduated from UBC with a Masters Degree in Asian Studies.  In his work with Edward Slingerland and Ara Norenzayan, he studied both the development of the Confucian concept of “benevolence” (仁) in ancient Chinese texts, and expressions of prosocial behavior in modern Chinese Christians and Buddhists. Robin is now a PhD student in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Dalhousie University.

Taylor Davis

Dr. Taylor Davis an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Purdue University. His research addresses the theoretical foundations of cultural evolution and evolutionary theories of psychology in general, with a focus on moral psychology and religion.

Lesley Duncan

Lesley graduated from UBC three times, after completing her undergraduate, Masters and PhD degrees.  Her graduate studies with Mark Schaller focused on the implications of evolved psychological disease avoidance mechanisms (the Behavioral Immune System) on implicit perceptions of individuals who deviate from the physical norm.  Lesley is now a Research Manager in Vancouver.

Will Gervais

Will Gervais is an evolutionary and cultural psychologist who is interested in why people believe what they believe about the world. His research focuses on the cognitive, evolutionary, and cultural forces that facilitate supernatural beliefs—and how these beliefs, in turn, affect cognition, evolution, and culture.

Michael Muthukrishna

I’m an Assistant Professor of Economic Psychology at the London School of Economics. My other affiliations include Research Associate of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and Technical Director of The Database of Religious History.

My research focuses on the psychological and evolutionary processes that underlie culture and how culture is transmitted, maintained, and modified. I use a two-pronged methodological approach in my research, combining mathematical and computational modeling (evolutionary models, social network analysis, etc.), and experimental psychology and experimental economics. I am interested in better understanding the dynamic relationship between “cultures” and individuals, where cultures emerge from the interactions of individuals over time, who are in turn shaped by the emergent cultures they constitute.

I am interested in the application of research in cultural evolution to public policy.

I have lived in various parts of the world, including Sri Lanka, Botswana, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Canada, and the United States.

Azim Shariff

Brenton Sullivan

Aiyana Willard

I am interested in how cognitive capacities, formed through evolution, give rise to religion and culture. My specific interest is in how biases in attention and memory promote and preserve myths, tales and religious beliefs. These capacities need to be universal across the species, yet lead to the immense variety of religious and cultural practices seen worldwide. I would like to look at both the universals and how different contexts promote this variety.
aiyana [at] psych.ubc.ca

Wanying Zhao