I'm a developmental scientist who studies how culture shapes the mind.
I'm currently a postdoc at the UC Berkeley Department of Psychology.
How do kids grow and learn across diverse cultures? And what does this tell us about the structure of the mind?
Most of my work focuses on decision-making, exploring how the social, ecological, and cultural environment shapes our behavior. To explore this topic, I bring together a diverse set of tools from fields like anthropology, psychology, evolutionary biology, and behavioral economics.
As most of what we know about human behavior still comes from people living in WEIRD populations — those that are Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic — my research employs a cross-cultural perspective to explore the diversity of human behavior around the world.
I frequently collaborate with the Shuar, an indigenous forager-horticulturalist group living in Amazonian Ecuador, as part of the larger Shuar Health and Life History Project.
👆My 2022 Garden talk, "How Does Where Grow Up Impact Who You Become?".
In this talk, I focus on the importance of childhood as a uniquely human developmental stage, and the role that early experiences play in shaping our language, preferences, and personality traits.
👆My 2019 TEDxCambridge talk, "How Industrialization Changed Childhood".
The basic gist: Forces like industrialization have eroded some of the hallmarks of human childhood — such as independence, unstructured play, & mixed-age playgroups — which may still serve important functions for kids today. Perhaps we ought to work harder to preserve them.
Can You Tell a Real Laugh from a Fake One?