Evolutionary Social Psychology Co-Laboratory (Kenrick-Neuberg-Becker-Varnum)

Evolutionary Social Psychology Co-Laboratory (Kenrick-Neuberg-Becker-Varnum)
Evolutionary Psychology; Behavioral Ecology; Motivation; Aggression; Prejudice; Mating; Culture
Lab Area
Social Psychology
Lab Director
Douglas T. Kenrick, Steven L. Neuberg, D. Vaughn Becker, Michael E. W. Varnum
Actively Recruiting Undergraduate Researchers

The Evolutionary Social Psychology Co-Laboratory uses theory from evolutionary psychology to study a range of topics including: motivation, emotion, health and well-being, prejudice and stereotyping, aggression, sexuality and mating, friendship, leadership, economic decision making, cultural variation, and cultural change. The Co-Laboratory is a joint venture of four faculty members who collaborate on numerous projects and provide shared training for graduate students. More details of our work can be found on our individual websites: Doug Kenrick, Steve Neuberg, Vaughn Becker, Michael Varnum.

Lab Directors and Co-Principal Investigators:

Douglas T. Kenrick, PhD, President’s Professor, Psychology
Steven L. Neuberg, PhD, Foundation Professor, Psychology
D. Vaughn Becker, PhD, Associate Professor, Human Systems Engineering Program
Michael E. W. Varnum, PhD, Associate Professor and Social Psychology Area Head, Psychology

Lab Affiliates:

Michael Barlev, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, Psychology

Current PhD Students:

  • Tiffany Chin
  • Amanda Kirsch
  • Kamryn Kadotani
  • Bernardo Seixas

Lab Alumni:

Joshua Ackerman (’07 PhD)
Department of Psychology
University of Michigan

Andrew Delton (’03 BS)
Associate Professor
Department of Political Science
Stony Brook University

Vlad Griskevicius (’08 PhD)
Carlson Family Foundation Chaired Professor of Marketing
Carlson School of Management
University of Minnesota

Ahra Ko (’23 PhD)
Research Project Manager
Behavior Change for Good Initiative
Wharton School of Business
University of Pennsylvania

Jaimie Krems (’18 PhD)
Associate Professor
Department of Psychology

Jung Yul Kwon (’22 PhD)
Post-doctoral Fellow
Department of Psychology
New School for Social Research

Jessica Li (’12 PhD)
Associate Professor
Department of Marketing
University of Kansas

Norman Li (’03 PhD)
Department of Psychology
Singapore Management University

Jon Maner (’03 PhD)
Department of Psychology
Florida State University

Rebecca Neel (’13 PhD)
Associate Professor
Department of Psychology
University of Toronto

Cari Pick (’21 PhD)
Research Scientist
Environmental Defense Fund

Angela Pirlott (’12 PhD)
Associate Professor
Department of Psychology
Xavier University

Theresa Robertson (’04 BS)
Assistant Professor
College of Business
Stony Brook University

Mark Schaller (’89 PhD)
Department of Psychology
University of British Columbia

Oliver Sng (’16 PhD)
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychological Science
UC Irvine

Jill Sundie (‘03 PhD)
Associate Professor
The Ernest Williams II School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics
Washington and Lee University

Joshua Tybur (’04 BA)
Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology
VU Amsterdam

Keelah Williams (’17 PhD)
Associate Professor
Department of Psychology
Hamilton College

Andrew White (’14 PhD)
Research Manager

Alexandra Wormley (’24 PhD)
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Department of Psychology
University of Michigan

Select Recent Publications

Barlev, M., & Neuberg, S. L. (in press). Rational reasons for irrational beliefs. American Psychologist.

Hohm, I., Wormley, A. S., Schaller, M., & Varnum, M. E. W. (2024). Homo temporus: Seasonal cycles as a fundamental source of variation in human psychology. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 19, 151-172.

Ko, A., Neuberg, S. L., Pick, C. M., Varnum, M. E. W., & Becker, D. V. (in press). Responses to political partisans are calibrated by a COVID-sensitive disease psychology: A longitudinal investigation. American Psychologist.

Kirsch, A. P., Kenrick, D.T., Ko, A., Pick, C. M., & Varnum, M. E. W. (2024). Sibling aggression is surprisingly common and sexually egalitarian. Evolution and Human Behavior, 45, 214-227.

Wiezel, A., Barlev, M., Martos, C.R., & Kenrick, D.T. (2024). Stereotypes versus preferences: Revisiting the Alpha Male stereotype of leadership. Evolution and Human Behavior, 45, 292-308.

Wormley, A. S., Kwon, J. Y., Barlev, M., & Varnum, M. E. W. (2023). How much cultural variation around the globe is explained by ecology? Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 290. 20230485.

Pick, C., Ko, A., Wormley, A. S., Wiezel, A., Kenrick, D. T., Al-Shawaf, L., . . . & Varnum, M. E. W. (2022). Family still matters: Human social motivation across 42 countries during a global pandemic. Evolution and Human Behavior, 43, 527-535.

Pick, C. M., & Neuberg, S. L. (2022).  Beyond observation: Manipulating circumstances to detect affordances and infer traits.  Personality and Social Psychology Review, 26, 160–179.

Krems, J.A., Williams, K. E. G., Aktipis, C. A., & Kenrick, D.T. (2021). Friendship jealousy: One tool for maintaining friendships in the face of third-party threats? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 120(4), 977–1012.

Rotella, A., Varnum, M. E. W., Sng, O., & Grossmann, I. (2021). Increasing population densities predict decreasing fertility rates over time: A 174-nation investigation. American Psychologist, 76, 933-946.

Neuberg, S. L., Williams, K. E. G., Sng, O., Pick, C. M., Neel, R., Krems, J. A., & Pirlott, A. G. (2020).  Toward capturing the functional and nuanced nature of social stereotypes: An affordance management approach.  In B. Gawronski (Ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol. 62, pp. 245 - 304). Cambridge, MA:  Academic Press.

Kenrick, D.T., Cohen, A.B., Cialdini, R.B., & Neuberg, S.L. (2020). The science of antiscience thinking. Scientific American, Special Edition: Truth vs. Lies. 29, 84-89.

Ko, A., Pick, C. M., Kwon, J. Y., Barlev, M., Krems, J. A., Varnum, M. E. W., . . . & Kenrick, D. T. (2020). Family matters: Rethinking the psychology of human social motivation. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 15, 173-201.

Sng, O., Williams, K. E. G., & Neuberg, S. L. (2020).  Sex-age stereotyping: Social perceivers as lay adaptationists.  Evolution and Human Behavior, 41, 136-149.

Becker, V. D.., & Neuberg, S. L. (2019). Archetypes reconsidered as emergent outcomes of cognitive complexity and evolved motivational systems. Psychological Inquiry, 30(2), 59-75.

Moon, J.W., Krems, J.A., Cohen, A.B., & Kenrick, D.T. (2019). Is nothing sacred? Religion, sex, and reproductive strategies. Current Directions in Psychological Science. 28 (4), 361-365.

Sng, O., Neuberg, S. L., Varnum, M. E. W., & Kenrick, D. T. (2018). The behavioral ecology of cultural variation. Psychological Review, 125, 714-745.

Sng, O., Neuberg, S. L., Varnum, M. E. W., & Kenrick, D. T. (2017). The crowded life is a life: Population density and life history strategy. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 111, 736-754.

Varnum, M. E. W., & Grossmann, I. (2017). Pathogen prevalence is associated with cultural changes in gender equality. Nature Human Behaviour, 1, 0003.

Williams, K. E., Sng, O., & Neuberg, S. L. (2016). Ecology-driven stereotypes override race stereotypes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(2), 310-315.

Neel, R., Kenrick, D.T., White, A.E., & Neuberg, S.L. (2016).  Individual differences in fundamental social motives.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 110 (6) 887–907.

Tybur, J. M., Inbar, Y., Aarøe, L., Barclay, P., Barlow, F. K., De Barra, M., Becker, D. V., ... & Žeželj, I. (2016). Parasite stress and pathogen avoidance relate to distinct dimensions of political ideology across 30 nations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(44), 12408-12413.

Lab alumni Jaimie Krems has won an NSF Career Award!

Lab alumni Keelah Williams was granted tenure at Hamilton College!

Doug Kenrick won SPSP’s 2024 Book Award for his book Solving Modern Problems with a Stone Aged Brain!

Lab alumni Cari Pick won SPSP’s Student Publication Prize!

Lab alumni Jaimie Krems was granted tenure at UCLA!

Hear Michael Varnum discuss the many impacts of seasons on our minds and behavior on the BBC.

Lab alumni Becca Neel has received APA’s Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Contribution to Psychology!

Doug Kenrick has won the HBES Lifetime Career Award!

Lab alumni Oliver Sng was named an APS Rising Star!

Michael Varnum was named an APS Fellow!

Lab member Alexandra Wormley received NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship!