My research integrates evolutionary game theory with laboratory experiments to study the hidden incentives that shape our preferences, beliefs, and ideologies, including our sense of morality, justice, beauty, and altruism. As a Research Scientist and Lecturer in Psychology and Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, my research draws on tools and evidence from multiple fields, including economics, history, philosophy, and studies of cultural evolution, with a particular emphasis on using psychological experiments to test theory. I also teach several courses on these topics at Harvard and MIT, including courses on what game theory can explain about social behavior, the psychology of cults, the origins of our political and moral ideologies, functional explanations for classic findings in social psychology, and how hidden incentives explain art and beauty.
Recent interview on the psychology of cults in the Harvard Gazette.
Representative publication: An Evolutionary Explanation for Ineffective Altruism in Nature Human Behavior
Link to my TEDx Cambridge talk on morality and altruism.