I'm a developmental scientist studying how culture shapes the mind.
I'm currently a postdoctoral researcher in the UC Berkeley Department of Psychology.
Humans are a remarkable species, numbering in the billions and inhabiting every single ecology on the planet. How do we pull this off?
One secret to our success is culture. We have incredibly diverse bodies of knowledge that orient us to our social and ecological worlds.
But another big part of our success concerns development. Humans have a unique developmental trajectory, with an extended period of dependence we call childhood. Childhood is an incredibly flexible and sensitive life stage primarily devoted to learning — both individually and socially — about the very specific world we inhabit, in contrast to the many million possible worlds we could inhabit.
My research examines this dynamic and uniquely human process, focusing on how our behavior, preferences, and decision-making are shaped across diverse cultural environments.
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 work with the Shuar, an Indigenous forager-horticulturalist group living in Amazonian Ecuador, as part of the larger Shuar Health and Life History Project.
Can You Tell a Real Laugh from a Fake One?