Welcome to the Mind, Body, Cultural Evolution Lab
Our goal is to examine the interplay between the human mind, our behaviours and the culture within which we are living. We use evolutionary approaches to understand human behaviour across different levels of explanation (from basic physiology and neuroscience to social and cultural dynamics).
If you are interested in joining our lab, for example as an international intern or for conducting research (e.g., completing a BSc Honours project, MSc or PhD thesis), please get in touch with Prof. Ron Fischer.
Current Research Projects
The research conducted in our lab is using multi-disciplinary theoretical and methodologically approaches to address questions such:
- The underlying dynamics of values and personality – why do we have different personalities and values, what influences personality/values at the neurobiological and psychological level, how do interindividual and cultural differences emerge and change during our life? We are currently developing text-mining tools to peek into value and personality dynamics in literature – unpacking values in historical times.
- What makes us happy and healthy? How can we foster mindfulness in the larger population and does mindfulness help us to lead better life’s? How can we use psychological science to help us to be happier, healthier and kinder to each other across different contexts and cultures? What is the role of diet and our environment for health and well-being?
- Why do humans have rituals? Why do we sing, dance, march, pray, chant together? What are the effects of ritual on well-being, prosociality, creativity? Currently we are focusing on the role of synchronized behaviour, voluntary pain and behavioural rigidity on well-being, cognition and altruism.
- How can we use psychological science to address important yet diverse problems such as climate change, disaster preparation or discrimination and political violence? We use evolutionary thinking because many diverse problems can be traced back to similar processes that evolved during our evolutionary history.
A key focus of our research is to develop and evaluate psychological instruments and their appropriateness for use in different cultural contexts. How can we develop better theories and instruments that reflect cultural diversity of humans?