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

Vaish, A, Herrmann, E, Markmann, C, and Tomasello, M. "Preschoolers value those who sanction non-cooperators." Cognition 153 (August 2016): 43-51. Full Text Open Access Copy

Engelmann, JM, Herrmann, E, Rapp, DJ, and Tomasello, M. "Young children (sometimes) do the right thing even when their peers do not." Cognitive Development 39 (July 2016): 86-92. Full Text Open Access Copy

Tomasello, M. "The ontogeny of cultural learning." Current Opinion in Psychology 8 (April 2016): 1-4. Full Text Open Access Copy

Schmidt, MF, Hardecker, S, and Tomasello, M. "Preschoolers understand the normativity of cooperatively structured competition." Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 143 (March 2016): 34-47. Full Text Open Access Copy

Schmidt, MFH, Rakoczy, H, Mietzsch, T, and Tomasello, M. "Young Children Understand the Role of Agreement in Establishing Arbitrary Norms-But Unanimity Is Key." Child Development 87.2 (March 2016): 612-626. Full Text Open Access Copy

Vogelsang, M, and Tomasello, M. "Giving Is Nicer than Taking: Preschoolers Reciprocate Based on the Social Intentions of the Distributor." Ed. G di Pellegrino. PLOS ONE 11.1 (January 25, 2016): e0147539-e0147539. Full Text Open Access Copy

Schmidt, MFH, Svetlova, M, Johe, J, and Tomasello, M. "Children's developing understanding of legitimate reasons for allocating resources unequally." Cognitive Development 37 (January 2016): 42-52. Full Text Open Access Copy

Herrmann, E, Misch, A, Hernandez-Lloreda, V, and Tomasello, M. "Uniquely human self-control begins at school age." Developmental Science 18.6 (November 2015): 979-993. Full Text Open Access Copy

Schäfer, M, Haun, DBM, and Tomasello, M. "Fair Is Not Fair Everywhere." Psychological Science 26.8 (August 2015): 1252-1260. Full Text Open Access Copy

Karg, K, Schmelz, M, Call, J, and Tomasello, M. "The goggles experiment: can chimpanzees use self-experience to infer what a competitor can see?." Animal Behaviour 105 (July 2015): 211-221. Full Text Open Access Copy