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Research areas

Research at the CCE focuses on revealing how our evolved human nature both generates and consumes the amazingly diverse array of cultural beliefs and behaviours observed around the world. We utilise theoretical perspectives and research methods from a range of disciplines, including cross-cultural psychology, evolutionary psychology, evolutionary anthropology, human behavioural ecology, human ethology, cultural evolution, and cultural multilevel selection. We strive to integrate proximate and ultimate explanations of human psychological variation, across levels of analysis from individual biological predispositions and personal attitudes, through dyadic processes and coalitional dynamics, and on to broader issues of demography, ecology, and sociohistorical context.   

Most research at the CCE fits into at least one of six main research themes: 

Gender, Sexuality, & Relationships

Research in this theme includes interpersonal attraction and mate choice, relationship maintenance and satisfaction, reproduction and parenting, infidelity and sexual jealousy, romantic attachment and mental health, intimate partner violence and sexual aggression, and human variation as a function of gender/sex identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. This theme is currently led by Dr Lora Adair.   

Religion, Morality, & Health Beliefs

Research in this theme includes political and religious beliefs, rules about morality and the treatment of other people, gender roles and sexual behaviours, and superstitions and medical beliefs. This theme is currently co-led by Dr Michael Price and  Dr Will Gervais.   

Conflict, Cooperation, & Social Inequality

Research in this theme includes cooperation within and between groups, collective action, leader-follower relations, social bonding and community, rules about fairness and resource distribution, and sources of social conflict such as economic inequality and intrasexual competition. This theme is currently led by Dr Nicholas Pound.  

Learning & Child Development

Research in this theme includes the study of child development as well as learning across the entirety of the human lifespan. Topics on learning include social learning strategies such as conformity or copying self-similar models, as well as specific learning mechanisms such as imitation, teaching, and ritual. Topics on development include age-related changes in learning, attachment and interdependence, caregiver relationships, social cognition, gender and other identities, and developmental flexibility in general. This theme is currently led by Dr Michelle Kline 

Digital Living & Online Cultures

Research in this theme includes the spread of information in social media, prosocial and antisocial behaviour in online media, cumulative cultural evolution online, and generally the use of large-scale digital data to test hypotheses of relevance to culture and evolution. This theme is currently led by Dr Alberto Acerbi.  

Cultural Identities & Immigration

Research in this theme centres on the processes and outcomes of cultural contact at both individual and group levels, including bicultural identity, acculturation, migration and adjustment, prejudice and discrimination, and multicultural and global identities.This theme is currently led by Dr Nelli Ferenczi.  

Please contact the Theme Leaders (clicking on names above) to learn more or to join our CCE Research Themes