Ecco Lab | Evolution, Culture, Cognition | Arizona State University

principal investigator

Thomas Morgan

I am the director of the ecco lab and an assistant professor of evolutionary anthropology at Arizona State University. The goal of my research is to explain human cognition and behavior by integrating learning and culture into an evolutionary framework. My work involves a range of different approaches including lab experiments, developmental studies, theoretical simulations, and, most recently, large-scale online experimentation.

 

I completed my PhD in 2013 at the University of St Andrews working with Kevin Laland. From 2014 to 2016, I worked as a postdoc with Tom Griffiths in the computational cognitive science lab at UC Berkeley. I joined the Adaptation, Behavior, Culture & Society group at ASU in August 2016.

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postdoctoral researchers

Hillary Lenfesty

As an experimental social scientist, I investigate the unique biological, psychological, and cultural factors that establish and maintain human relationships.  In particular, I have used laboratory experiments to understand the role of religious experiences as well as third-party monitoring in promoting human cooperation.  In addition, I am interested in using modeling and historical database methods to test how cooperation may arise when culture capitalizes on features of the human autonomic nervous system (ANS).  Currently in the ECCO lab, I use large-scale online experimentation to investigate the emergence and persistence of collective identity through the lens of cultural evolution.

 

Website:  http://asu.academia.edu/HillaryLenfesty

Elena Miu

I am interested in understanding human behaviour, learning, and culture from an evolutionary perspective using a broad set of methods. I have a background in linguistics, artificial intelligence, and biology, and I have used theoretical and large-scale experimental approaches to study the dynamics of cumulative cultural evolution in my PhD with Luke Rendell at St Andrews. I am currently working in the Ecco lab on questions related to cumulative improvement and innovation.

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graduate students

Melanie Foreman

I have always been captivated by evolutionary biology, specifically sexual section. In my undergraduate education I focused on studying mate choice mechanisms in orb-weaver spiders. After earning my BS in Biology from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, I became interested in studying mate choice behaviors in humans. Specifically, I am focusing my studies on the social influences acting upon female mate choice and the phenomenon of mate choice copying.

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past lab members

Leonid Tiokhin

Leonid completed his PhD in Anthropology in December 2018, co-advised by Daniel Hruschka and Thomas Morgan. He went on to a 5 year postdoctoral position with Daniel Lakens at Eindhoven University of Technology. His research focuses on ways to increase the efficiency and reliability of science. Including how various factors, such as competition between scientists and study-population diversity, affect scientific inference. He is especially interested in strategies for improving theoretical progress in the social sciences.

 

Website: http://leotiokhin.com/

Open Science Framework Profile: https://osf.io/u97k3/

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Tajinder Virdee

Tajinder is an undergraduate Anthropology Honors student at Arizona State University. Her honors thesis research focuses on forced pregnancies and genocidal rape as a method of population control in multiple recent instances of genocide. She is interested in mass violence, sexual violence, high risk behavior and the evolutionary explanations for violent behavior.

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