Michael Price**


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.


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

Research area(s)

  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Evolution of moral beliefs
  • Cooperation in groups
  • Organizational behaviour


Research interests

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.

Research project(s) and grant(s)

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)



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)


Research centre(s)



Undergraduate Programmes

Module convenor

  • Evolutionary Psychology (UG year 3)

Postgraduate Programmes

Module convenor

  • Evolutionary Psychology (MSc)

Undergraduate Teaching

Module convenor

  • Evolutionary Psychology (UG year 3)

Postgraduate Teaching

Module convenor

  • Evolutionary Psychology (MSc)


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

Research 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 -

Selected Publications

Journal articles

Price, M.   (Accepted)   'Entropy and selection: Life as an adaptation for universe replication'. ComplexityDownload publication 

Price, ME. , Sheehy-Skeffington, J. , Sidnaius, J.  and Pound, N.   (2017)   'Is sociopolitical egalitarianism related to bodily and facial formidability in men?'. Evolution and Human Behavior. pp. - - -. doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2017.04.001 Download publication 

Price, ME.   (2015)   'Applied Evolutionary Anthropology: Darwinian Approaches to Contemporary World Issues'. AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST, 117 (2).  pp. 426 - 427. doi: 10.1111/aman.12262 Download publication 

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

Hong, J. , Kang, J.  and Price, ME.   (2014)   'Extraction of bodily features for gait recognition and gait attractiveness evaluation'. Multimedia Tools and Applications, 71 (3).  pp. 1999 - 2013. doi: 10.1007/s11042-012-1319-2 Download publication 

Coy, AE. , Green, JD.  and Price, ME.   (2014)   'Why is low waist-to-chest ratio attractive in males? The mediating roles of perceived dominance, fitness, and protection ability'. Body Image, 11 (3).  pp. 282 - 289. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2014.04.003 Download publication 

Price, ME.  and Van Vugt, M.   (2014)   'The evolution of leader-follower reciprocity: The theory of service-for-prestige'. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8 doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00363 Download publication 

Price, ME. , Pound, N.  and Scott, IM.   (2014)   'Female economic dependence and the morality of promiscuity'. Archives of Sexual Behavior: an interdisciplinary research journal, 43 (7).  pp. 1289 - 1301. doi: 10.1007/s10508-014-0320-4 Download publication 

Pound, N.  and Price, ME.   (2013)   'Human sex differences: Distributions overlap but the tails sometimes tell a tale'. Psychological Inquiry: an international journal of peer commentary and review, 24 (3).  pp. 224 - 230. doi: 10.1080/1047840X.2013.817297 Download publication 

Price, ME. , Pound, N. , Dunn, J. , Hopkins, S.  and Kang, J.   (2013)   'Body shape preferences: Associations with rater body shape and sociosexuality'. PLOS ONE, 8 (1).  doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0052532 Download publication 

Johnson, D. , Price, ME.  and Van Vugt, M.   (2013)   'Darwin's invisible hand: Market competition, evolution and the firm'. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. doi: 10.1016/j.jebo.2012.12.016 

Price, ME.   (2012)   '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).  pp. 45 - 49. Download publication 

Price, ME. , Dunn, J. , Hopkins, S.  and Kang, J.   (2012)   'Anthropometric correlates of human anger'. Evolution and Human Behavior, 33 (3).  pp. 174 - 181. doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2011.08.004 Download publication 

Price, ME.   (2011)   'Acting in your own selves interests (review of Why everyone [else] is a hypocrite by Robert Kurzban)'. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 9 pp. 271 - 273. 

Price, ME. , Kang, J. , Dunn, J.  and Hopkins, S.   (2011)   'Muscularity and attractiveness as predictors of human egalitarianism'. Personality and Individual Differences, 50 (5).  pp. 636 - 640. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2010.12.009 Download publication 

Takezawa, M.  and Price, ME.   (2010)   'Revisiting "The evolution of reciprocity in sizable groups": continuous reciprocity in the repeated n-person prisoner's dilemma'. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 264 (2).  pp. 188 - 196. doi: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2010.01.028 

Price, ME.   (2009)   'How Christian beliefs harness Darwinian cooperative instincts'. The Global Spiral, 10 (2).  

Curry, OS. , Price, ME.  and Price, JG.   (2008)   'Patience is a virtue: Cooperative people have lower discount rates'. Personality and Individual Differences, 44 (3).  pp. 780 - 785. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2007.09.023 Download publication 

Price, ME.   (2008)   'The resurrection of group selection as a theory of human cooperation'. Social Justice Research, 21 (2).  pp. 228 - 240. doi: 10.1007/s11211-008-0064-1 Download publication 

Brown, WM. , Price, ME. , Kang, J. , Pound, N. , et al.   (2008)   'Fluctuating asymmetry and preferences for sex-typical bodily characteristics'. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105 (35).  pp. 12938 - 12943. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0710420105 Download publication 

Brown, WM.  and Price, ME.   (2007)   'Evolutionary psychology sensu lato: A review of The Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology edited by Robin Dunbar and Louise Barrett, Oxford University Press (2007)'. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 5 (1-4).  pp. 235 - 240. doi: 10.1556/JEP.2007.1013 

Price, ME.   (2007)   'Review of Mind and Religion: Psychological and Cognitive Foundations of Religiosity'. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 13 pp. 1046 - 1047. 

Price, ME. , Brown, WM.  and Curry, OS.   (2007)   'The integrative framework for the behavioural sciences has already been discovered, and it is the adaptationist approach'. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 30 (1).  pp. 39 - 40. doi: 10.1017/S0140525X07000817 Download publication 

Price, ME. , Barrett, HC.  and Hagen, EH.   (2006)   'Do human parents face a quantity-quality tradeoff? Evidence from a Shuar community'. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 130 (3).  pp. 405 - 418. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.20272 

Price, ME.   (2006)   'Monitoring, reputation and "greenbeard" reciprocity in a Shuar work team'. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 27 (2).  pp. 201 - 219. doi: 10.1002/job.347 

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

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

Price, ME.   (2005)   'Punitive sentiment among the Shuar and in industrialized societies: Cross-cultural similarities'. Evolution and Human Behavior, 26 (3).  pp. 279 - 287. doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2004.08.009 

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

Price, ME. , Cosmides, L.  and Tooby, J.   (2002)   'Punitive sentiment as an anti-free rider psychological device'. Evolution and Human Behavior, 23 (3).  pp. 203 - 231. doi: 10.1016/S1090-5138(01)00093-9 

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

Book chapters

Price, M.  (2016)   'Service-for-prestige theory of leader-follower relations', in Shackelford, TK.  and Weekes-Shackelford, VA. (eds.) Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science.  Springer 

Price, ME.  and Van Vugt, M.  (2015)   '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 pp. 169 - 201. 

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

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

Price, ME.  (2010)   '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 pp. 235 - 256. 

Johnson, DDP. , Price, ME.  and Takezawa, M.  (2008)   '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 pp. 331 - 352. 

Hagen, EH. , Price, ME.  and Tooby, J.  (2005)   '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 pp. 355 - 365. 

Conference papers

Hong, J. , Kang, J.  and Price, M.   (2012)   'Gait analysis and identification' . 

Page last updated: Tuesday 09 August 2016