Tomasello Lab

The Tomasello Lab is a part of the Duke CHILD Studies group which is housed in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University.

Led by principal investigator Dr. Michael Tomasello, we study what makes humans uniquely human! More specifically, we study how and why young children develop the social and cognitive skills that enable them to become cooperative and communicative adult humans. We also study how the presence and development of these skills differ between young human children and great apes (e.g., chimpanzees, bonobos).

For more information about the Tomasellolab, visit the Tomasellolab website

Principal Investigator: Dr. Michael Tomasello

Michael Tomasello obtained a B.A. in Psychology in 1972 from Duke University and then a Ph.D. in Psychology in 1980 from University of Georgia. He was a Professor of Psychology at Emory University and an affiliate scientist at Yerkes Primate Center from 1980 to 1998. Since 1998, he has served as the Co-Director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. Currently, he is also a Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke. His research interests focus on the processes of social cognition, social learning, and communication/language in human children and great apes. His recent books include Origins of Human Communication (MIT Press, 2008), Why We Cooperate (MIT Press, 2009), A Natural History of Human Thinking (Harvard University Press, 2014), and A Natural History of Human Morality (Harvard University Press, 2016).