Mind, Body, Cultural Evolution Lab

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Team members


Ron Fischer. I am a Professor at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. I was born in East Germany, but have spent much of my adult life exploring remote corners of the world, carrying a laptop and camera. My main academic interests are in the interplay between culture and human functioning in diverse ecological settings and the role of evolution for human well-being. I am a bit of a geek at heart, so I love tackling these big questions about culture and evolution by applying multivariate statistics while also daydreaming about more powerful multilevel models. I have published more than 100 articles and book chapters, and I have been named as one of the top 10 most cited researchers in culture and psychology. When not teaching or researching, I am serving as Associate Editor for Applied Psychology and am helping our research community by serving on various psychology and business journal editorial boards.

To find more info and publications, please visit my Google Scholar, ResearchGate and Academia.edu pages. My books are available via Amazon.


Rita Anne McNamara I am a Cultural Psychologist and Lecturer in Cross-cultural Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington. My work combines social and developmental psychology with cultural anthropology. My work focuses on how we come to understand other minds (both human and non-human, real and imagined) and how we use this information to make decisions about cooperation, right vs. wrong, and whom to learn from. I do fieldwork with small communities of Indigenous iTaukei Fijians and run lab-based studies at Victoria University of Wellington; I conduct community-based and direct the Mind in Context Lab.

You can find out more about me here.

Johannes Karl Linkedin

Johannes Karl. Johannes completed his Masters in Cross-Cultural Psychology and currently is studying for his PhD. His MSc thesis focused on the interplay between rituals and anxiety, using psychophysiology, skeletal tracking, and recurrence quantification analysis, which is going to be published in Human Nature. His current research interests include mindfulness, awe, environmental and evolutionary influences on behaviour, adaptation of novel (food) technologies, and personality-environment interactions.

Gerard Janse van Rensburg profile-picture photographGerard Janse van Rensburg. Gerard has a passion for understanding human behaviour in a holistic manner. To do so requires studying the brain, cognition, the social world that surrounds and how all of this merges together to form the mind and behaviour. His PhD research focuses on building multi-level models of human behaviour which incorporates macro, meso, and micro level factors that shape human behaviour. As a South African, prejudice and racism are issues of special importance, and so his research will delve into uncovering the social and cognitive factors that support or predict racial prejudice and discrimination.


Joseph Bulbulia. Joseph is a Professor in Religious Studies at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. He has taught in the Religious Studies Programme at Victoria since August 2000. Broadly, he is interested in how religion evolved and how it continues to affect people. Visit his website here.

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