Michael Price

Senior Lecturer in Psychology

Room: Gaskell Building Room 206
Brunel University London
Uxbridge, UB8 3PH
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1895 266974
Email: michael.price@brunel.ac.uk
Web: Personal Website



  • PhD (University of California, Santa Barbara)
  • BA (Duke University)

Personal Biography

As an undergraduate I was interested in human nature, but puzzled about why this topic rarely came up in my psychology course. Then I discovered the new science of evolutionary psychology and never looked back. I received my PhD in 2003 from the UC Santa Barbara Center for Evolutionary Psychology, for a dissertation focusing mainly on group cooperation among indigenous Amazonian hunter-horticulturalists. My first job was a postdoctoral fellowship sponsored jointly by the Indiana University Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis and the Santa Fe Institute, and then I was Visiting Lecturer in Organizational Behavior at Washington University in St. Louis. I became Lecturer in Psychology at Brunel in 2006, and then Senior Lecturer in 2013.


Research Overview

My main research topic is evolutionary moral psychology, particularly moral attitudes towards issues such as social inequality, sexual behaviour, and cooperation in groups. This research programme currently takes three main forms. First, I investigate the relationship between bodily condition and moral orientation, using a 3D body scanner to collect anthropometric data (in collaboration with Dr Jinsheng Kang of the Brunel School of Engineering and Design). Second, I'm studying how perceptions about male parental investment relate to attitudes about sexual behaviour. Third, I'm investigating whether leader-follower relations can be seen as a kind of evolved reciprocity.

Member, Evolution and Behaviour Group

Co-Director, Centre for Culture and Evolutionary Psychology


Current Projects

Anthropometric predictors of moral orientation
September 2009 -
Michael E. Price (PI)

Male parental investment and attitudes about sexual behaviour
May 2011 -
Michael E. Price (PI)


Recently Completed Projects

Modelling the evolution of reciprocity in groups
August 2005 - January 2010
Michael E. Price (CI)

Motion capture and body scanner studies of altruistic disposition
August 2006 - August 2008
Michael E. Price (CI)


PhD Supervision

Mark Iruayenama: Effects of fearsome doctrinal symbolism on innovative thought in Nigeria; January 2012 -

Amy Monroe: Supererogation as exceeding expected welfare trade-off ratios: A recalibrational theory of gratitude and moral elevation; January 2013 -

Andrew Pridding: The influence of infant carrying on attachment; September 2011 -


Undergraduate Programmes

Module convenor

  • Evolutionary Psychology (UG year 3)

Postgraduate Programmes

Module convenor

  • Evolutionary Psychology (MSc)


  • Deputy Head of Psychology
  • Co-Director, Centre for Culture and Evolutionary Psychology


Journal Papers

(2015)  Price, ME. , Brown, S. , Dukes, A.  and Kang, J. , Bodily attractiveness and egalitarianism are negatively related in males, Evol Psychol 13 (1)  : 140- 166 Download publication

(2014)  Hong, J. , Kang, J.  and Price, ME. , Extraction of bodily features for gait recognition and gait attractiveness evaluation, Multimedia Tools and Applications 71 (3)  : 1999- 2013 Download publication

(2014)  Coy, AE. , Green, JD.  and Price, ME. , Why is low waist-to-chest ratio attractive in males? The mediating roles of perceived dominance, fitness, and protection ability, Body Image 11 (3)  : 282- 289

(2014)  Price, ME.  and Van Vugt, M. , The evolution of leader-follower reciprocity: The theory of service-for-prestige, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8363 Download publication

(2014)  Price, ME. , Pound, N.  and Scott, IM. , Female economic dependence and the morality of promiscuity, Archives of Sexual Behavior: an interdisciplinary research journal 43 (7)  : 1289- 1301 Download publication

(2013)  Pound, N.  and Price, ME. , Human sex differences: Distributions overlap but the tails sometimes tell a tale, Psychological Inquiry: an international journal of peer commentary and review 24 (3)  : 224- 230

(2013)  Johnson, D. , Price, ME.  and Van Vugt, M. , Darwin's invisible hand: Market competition, evolution and the firm, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization

(2013)  Price, ME. , Pound, N. , Dunn, J. , Hopkins, S.  and Kang, J. , Body shape preferences: Associations with rater body shape and sociosexuality, PLOS ONE 8 (1)  : e52532 Download publication

(2012)  Price, ME. , Dunn, J. , Hopkins, S.  and Kang, J. , Anthropometric correlates of human anger, Evolution and Human Behavior 33 (3)  : 174- 181 Download publication

(2012)  Price, ME. , Group selection theories are now more sophisticated, but are they more predictive? A review of Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis, A Cooperative Species: Human Reciprocity and its Evolution, Evol Psychol 10 (1)  : 45- 49

(2011)  Price, ME. , Kang, J. , Dunn, J.  and Hopkins, S. , Muscularity and attractiveness as predictors of human egalitarianism, Personality and Individual Differences 50 (5)  : 636- 640 Download publication

(2010)  Takezawa, M.  and Price, ME. , Revisiting "The evolution of reciprocity in sizable groups": continuous reciprocity in the repeated n-person prisoner's dilemma, Journal of Theoretical Biology 264 (2)  : 188- 196

(2008)  Brown, WM. , Price, ME. , Kang, J. , Pound, N. , et al. , Fluctuating asymmetry and preferences for sex-typical bodily characteristics, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 105 (35)  : 12938- 12943 Download publication

(2008)  Curry, OS. , Price, ME.  and Price, JG. , Patience is a virtue: Cooperative people have lower discount rates, Personality and Individual Differences 44 (3)  : 780- 785 Download publication

(2008)  Price, ME. , The resurrection of group selection as a theory of human cooperation, Social Justice Research 21 (2)  : 228- 240 Download publication

(2007)  Price, ME. , Brown, WM.  and Curry, OS. , The integrative framework for the behavioural sciences has already been discovered, and it is the adaptationist approach, Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30 (1)  : 39- 40 Download publication

(2006)  Price, ME. , Barrett, HC.  and Hagen, EH. , Do human parents face a quantity-quality tradeoff? Evidence from a Shuar community, American Journal of Physical Anthropology 130 (3)  : 405- 418

(2006)  Price, ME. , Monitoring, reputation and "greenbeard" reciprocity in a Shuar work team, Journal of Organizational Behavior 27 (2)  : 201- 219

(2006)  Tooby, J. , Cosmides, L.  and Price, ME. , Cognitive adaptations for n-person exchange: The evolutionary roots of organizational behavior, Managerial and Decision Economics 27 (2-3)  : 103- 129

(2006)  Price, ME. , Judgments about cooperators and freeriders on a Shuar work team: An evolutionary psychological perspective, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 101 (1)  : 20- 35

(2005)  Price, ME. , Punitive sentiment among the Shuar and in industrialized societies: Cross-cultural similarities, Evolution and Human Behavior 26 (3)  : 279- 287

(2003)  Price, ME. , Pro-community altruism and social status in a Shuar village, Human Nature 14 191- 208

(2002)  Price, ME. , Cosmides, L.  and Tooby, J. , Punitive sentiment as an anti-free rider psychological device, Evolution and Human Behavior 23 (3)  : 203- 231

(2001)  Hagen, EH. , Hames, RB. , Craig, NM. , Lauer, MT.  and Price, ME. , Parental investment and child health in a Yanomamö village suffering short-term food stress, Journal of Biosocial Science 33 503- 528 Download publication

Book Chapters

(2015)  Price, ME.  and Van Vugt, M. , (Accepted) The service-for-prestige theory of leader-follower relations: A review of the evolutionary psychology and anthropology literatures. In: Colarelli, SM.  and Arvey RD.  eds. Biological Foundations of Organizational Behavior. University of Chicago Press

(2011)  Price, ME.  and Johnson, DDP. , The adaptationist theory of cooperation in groups: Evolutionary predictions for organizational cooperation. In: Saad, G.  ed. Evolutionary Psychology in the Business Sciences. Springer 95- 134

(2011)  Price, ME. , Cooperation as a classic problem in behavioural biology. In: Swami, V.  ed. Evolutionary Psychology: A Critical Introduction. Wiley-Blackwell 73- 106

(2010)  Price, ME. , Free riders as a blind spot of equity theory: an evolutionary correction. In: Schminke, M.  ed. Managerial Ethics: Managing the Psychology of Morality. Routledge/Psychology Press/Taylor and Francis 235- 256

(2008)  Johnson, DDP. , Price, ME.  and Takezawa, M. , Renaissance of the individual: reciprocity, positive assortment, and the puzzle of human cooperation. In: Crawford, C.  and Krebs, D.  eds. Foundations of Evolutionary Psychology. New York : Lawrence Erlbaum 331- 352

(2005)  Hagen, EH. , Price, ME.  and Tooby, J. , A Preliminary Report on Darkness in El Dorado. In: Endicott, KM.  and Welsch, RL.  eds. Anthropology: Taking Sides - Clashing Views in Anthropology. Guilford, CT : McGraw-Hill/Dushkin 355- 365

Page last updated: Sunday 04 January 2015