Michael Tomasello

Michael Tomasello

Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology

External address: 
247 Soc Psych Bldg, Box 90086, Durham, NC 27708
(919) 660-8752


Major research interests in processes of social cognition, social learning, cooperation, and communication from developmental, comparative, and cultural perspectives. Current theoretical focus on processes of shared intentionality. Empirical research mainly with human children from 1 to 4 years of age and great apes.

Degrees & Credentials

  • Ph.D., University of Georgia at Athens 1980

  • B.A., Duke University 1972

Engelmann, JM, Clift, JB, Herrmann, E, and Tomasello, M. "Social disappointment explains chimpanzees' behaviour in the inequity aversion task." Proceedings. Biological Sciences 284.1861 (August 2017). Full Text Open Access Copy

Hepach, R, Vaish, A, and Tomasello, M. "Children's Intrinsic Motivation to Provide Help Themselves After Accidentally Harming Others." Child development 88.4 (July 2017): 1251-1264. Full Text Open Access Copy

Kanngiesser, P, Köymen, B, and Tomasello, M. "Young children mostly keep, and expect others to keep, their promises." Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 159 (July 2017): 140-158. Full Text Open Access Copy

Schmelz, M, Grueneisen, S, Kabalak, A, Jost, J, and Tomasello, M. "Chimpanzees return favors at a personal cost." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 114.28 (July 2017): 7462-7467. Full Text Open Access Copy

Hardecker, S, and Tomasello, M. "From imitation to implementation: How two- and three-year-old children learn to enforce social norms." British Journal of Developmental Psychology 35.2 (June 2017): 237-248. Full Text Open Access Copy

Rapp, DJ, Engelmann, JM, Herrmann, E, and Tomasello, M. "The impact of choice on young children’s prosocial motivation." Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 158 (June 2017): 112-121. Full Text Open Access Copy

Sánchez-Amaro, A, Duguid, S, Call, J, and Tomasello, M. "Chimpanzees, bonobos and children successfully coordinate in conflict situations." Proceedings. Biological Sciences 284.1856 (June 2017). Full Text Open Access Copy

Hardecker, S, Schmidt, MFH, and Tomasello, M. "Children’s Developing Understanding of the Conventionality of Rules." Journal of Cognition and Development 18.2 (March 15, 2017): 163-188. Full Text Open Access Copy

Ulber, J, Hamann, K, and Tomasello, M. "Young children, but not chimpanzees, are averse to disadvantageous and advantageous inequities." Journal of experimental child psychology 155 (March 2017): 48-66. Full Text Open Access Copy

Grueneisen, S, and Tomasello, M. "Children coordinate in a recurrent social dilemma by taking turns and along dominance asymmetries." Developmental psychology 53.2 (February 2017): 265-273. Full Text Open Access Copy