Principal Investigator

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, The Kindness of Strangers: How a Selfish Ape Invented a New Moral Code, is out now.

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.

Zeve Marcus, MA

Zeve Marcus holds a B.A. in Psychology and M.A. in Experimental Psychology from the University of California, San Diego. His background is in sensation and perception with some focus on visual consciousness and cognition. He joined the lab in the spring of 2020 with the goal of better understanding the attentional mechanisms involved in prosocial decision making. Zeve is also interested in psychometrics, structured data analysis, educational psychology, and narratives in 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 Assistant Professor, Department of Health Education & Behavior, University of Florida

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

Lab Manager

Brooke Donner