My research focuses on answering three broad questions: (1) Why are humans so different to other animals? (2) What are the psychological and evolutionary processes that underlie culture and how is culture transmitted, maintained, and modified? (3) How can the answers to these questions be used to tackle some of the challenges we face as a species? I use a two-pronged methodological approach to answer these questions, combining mathematical and computational modeling (evolutionary models, social network analysis, etc.), and experimental and data science methods from psychology and economics. I use the “Theory of Human Behavior” that emerges from this approach to tackle a variety of related topics, including innovation, corruption, the rise of large-scale cooperation, and the navigation of cross-cultural differences.
Major Awards and Grants
2017: Templeton Religion Trust Grant for “The Database of Religious History: A Digital Humanities Approach to Religious Cultural History” (Co-I; 3 year; $2.4M; ID: TRT0188; with Edward Slingerland)
2016: CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Social Sciences – Top Social Science Dissertation in USA and Canada, Council of Graduate Schools (CGS)/ProQuest (1 award across all social sciences)
2016: PhD Dissertation Excellence Award, Canadian Psychological Association
Dr. Michael Muthukrishna is now an Assistant Professor of Economic Psychology, London School of Economics and also holds the titles of Associate of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, Affiliate of the Developmental Economics Group at STICERD, and Technical Director of The Database of Religious History. (website)