Michael McCullough, PhD
Michael McCullough is a professor of psychology and the director of the Evolution and Human Behavior Laboratory at the University of California, San Diego. McCullough is an experimental psychologist who is concerned primarily with the evolutionary and cognitive underpinnings of human sociality. He was one of the first scientists to take an interest in interpersonal forgiveness and to develop tools for studying it experimentally. He has also innovated experimental approaches to studying gratitude, revenge, prosocial behavior, religious cognition, and intertemporal choice. Additionally, McCullough has worked in recent years to help clear up scientific puzzles about self-control and about the social effects of a hormone known as oxytocin.
McCullough has authored more than 150 scientific papers, many of which have appeared in the best journals within both Psychology (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Experimental Psychology-General, Psychological Bulletin) and general science (Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Proceedings of the Royal Society—Biological Sciences). Professor McCullough’s books and articles have been cited more than 40,000 times, placing him among the most widely cited American psychologists. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, and several nonprofit foundations.
Professor McCullough has authored or edited seven books. His newest book is The Kindness of Strangers: How a Selfish Ape Invented a New Moral Code, and will be published in May 2020 by Basic Books.
At UCSD, McCullough teaches General Psychology: Social Foundations (Psyc 6), Evolution and Human Nature (Psych 141) and Writing About Thinking.
See Dr. McCullough's website for additional information.
Current Graduate Students
Thomas McCauley, MA
Thomas McCauley graduated with a B.S. in psychology from the University of Delaware in 2014, and an M.A. in experimental psychology from the College of William & Mary in 2017. He joined the lab in fall of 2017, while it was located at the University of Miami, with the aim of pursuing questions pertaining to the evolved psychological mechanisms underlying cooperation, punishment, emotion, and morality. His goal is to understand how these mechanisms interact with enduring ecological features by identifying points of variance and invariance in their function across diverse societies. He is also interested in statistics, experimental methodology, reproducibility in psychological science, and meta-science.
Lab Alumni: Where Are They Now?
Joseph Billingsley, PhD Research Assistant Professor, Poole College of Management, North Carolina State University
Giacomo Bono, PhD Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, California State University, Dominguez Hills
Evan Carter, PhD Research Psychologist, Human Research and Engineering Directorate, US Army Research Laboratory
Daniel Forster, PhD Research Psychologist, Human Research and Engineering Directorate, US Army Research Laboratory
Cristina Gomes, PhD Research Assistant Professor, Assistant Director of the Tropical Conservation Institute, Florida International University
Liana Hone, PhD Research Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University at Buffalo
William McAuliffe, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Healthcare Policy, Harvard Medical School
Carlton Patrick, JD, PhD Assistant Professor, Legal Studies, University of Central Florida
Eric Pedersen, PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Colorado Boulder
Lindsey Root Luna, PhD Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Hope College
Adam Smith, PhD Assistant Professor, Graduate School of International Development, Nagoya University
Benjamin Tabak, PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Southern Methodist University
Jo-Ann Tsang, PhD Associate Professor, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Baylor University