Rob Kurzban's Publications 

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Morality can be divided into two different phenomena to be explained. The first question surrounds "conscience," mechanisms that guide one's own moral behavior. The second question surrounds "condemnation," mechanisms that cause one to evaluate others' behavior on the dimension of right and wrong, and desire punishment. Work in the lab mostly focuses on this second issue.

Pedersen, E. J., Kurzban, R., & McCullough, M. E. (in press). Do humans really punish altruistically? A closer look. Proceedings of the Royal Society–B. [link]

DeScioli, P., & Kurzban, R. (2013). A solution to the mysteries of moralityPsychological Bulletin, 139(2), 477-496. [.pdf]

Kurzban, R., & DeScioli, P., & Fein (2013). Hamilton vs. Kant: Pitting adaptations for altruism against adaptations for moral judgment. Evolution and Human Behavior, 32(4), 323-333. [.pdf]

McCullough, M. E., Kurzban, R., & Tabak, B. A. (2013). Cognitive systems for revenge and forgiveness. Behavioral & Brain Sciences, 36, 1-15. [.pdf]

DeScioli, P., Gilbert, S., & Kurzban, R. (2012). Indelible victims and persistent punishers in moral cognition. Psychological Inquiry, 23, 143-149. [link]

DeScioli, P., Bruening, R., & Kurzban. R. (2011). The omission effect in moral cognition: Toward a functional explanation. Evolution and Human Behavior, 32, 204-215[.pdf]

DeScioli, P., Christner, J., & Kurzban, R. (2011). The omission strategy. Psychological Science, 22, 442-446[.pdf]

Kurzban, R., Dukes, A., & Weeden, J. (2011) Sex, drugs, and moral goals: Reproductive strategies and views about recreational drugs. Proceedings of the Royal Society – B, 277, 3501-3508. [.pdf]

DeScioli, P. & Kurzban, R. (2009). Mysteries of morality. Cognition 112, 281-299. [.pdf]

Kurzban, R., DeScioli, P., & O’Brien, E. (2007). Audience effects on moralistic punishment. Evolution and Human Behavior, 28(2), 75-84 [.pdf]

Robinson, P., & Kurzban, R. (2007) Concordance and conflict in intuitions of justice. Minnesota Law Review, 91, 1829-1907. [.pdf]

Robinson, P., Kurzban, R., & Jones, O. D. (2008). The origins of shared intuitions of justice. Vanderbilt Law Review, 60, 1633-1688. [.pdf]

Friendship  [top]

Why do people form friendships? Given mechanisms designed to form -- and compete for -- friendships, what social network structures will emerge?

DeScioli, P., & Kurzban, R. (in press). The company you keep: Friendship decisions from a functional perspective. In Krueger, J. I. (Ed.), Social Judgment and Decision Making. New York: Psychology Press.

DeScioli, P., Kurzban, R., Koch, E. N., & Liben-Nowell, D. (2011). Best friends: Alliances, friend ranking, and the MySpace social network. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6, 6-8. [link]

DeScioli, P., & Kurzban, R. (2009). The alliance hypothesis for human friendship. Public Library of Science ONE, 4(6) e5802. [link]

Levine, S. S. & Kurzban, R. (2006). Explaining clustering within and between organizations: Towards an evolutionary theory of cascading benefits.Managerial and Decision Economics, 27, 173-187.[.pdf]

Modularity and the Self  [top]

What is the nature of the architecture of the human mind? To what extent is the mind "modular," composed of a large number of functionally specialized mechanisms? How does modularity interact with our understanding of issues such as the "self," consciousness, and human mental flexibility? 

Kurzban, R. (2010). Why everyone (else) is a hypocrite: Evolution and the modular mind. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Egeth, M., & Kurzban, R. (2009). Representing metarepresentations: Is there theory of mind-specific cognition? Consciousness and Cognition, 18(1), 244-254.

Kurzban, R., & Aktipis, C. A. (2007). Modularity and the social mind: Are psychologists too self-ish? Personality and Social Psychology Review, 11(2), 131-149. [.pdf]

Barrett, H. C., Frederick, D. A., Haselton, M. G. & Kurzban, R. (2006). Can manipulations of cognitive load be used to test evolutionary hypotheses?Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91(3), 513-647. [.pdf]

Barrett, H. C., & Kurzban, R. (2006). Modularity in cognition: Framing the debate. Psychological Review, 113(3), 628-647. [.pdf]

Kurzban, R., & Aktipis, C. A. (2006). Modular minds, multiple motives. In M. Schaller, J. Simpson, & D. Kenrick (Eds.) Evolution and Social Psychology (pp. 39-53). New York: Psychology Press. [On Amazon]

Cooperation and Groups  [top]

Humans cooperate in groups of unrelated individuals. What explains this, and how is cooperation maintained?

Ishii, K., & Kurzban, R. (2008). Real time public goods in Japan: Cultural and individual differences in trust and reciprocity. Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective, 19(2), 138-156.  [.pdf]

Kurzban, R., & DeScioli, P. (2008). Reciprocal cooperation in groups: Information-seeking in a public goods game. European Journal of Social Psychology, 38, 139-158. [.pdf]

Kurzban, R., Rigdon, M., & Wilson, B. J. (2008). Iterated trust and reciprocity. Experimental Economics, 11, 370-389.

Van Vugt, M., & Kurzban, R. (2007). Evolutionary origins of leadership and followership: managing the social mind. The 9th Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology: The evolution of the social mind: Evolutionary psychology and social cognition (pp. 229-244). New York: Psychology Press. [link to book]

Kurzban, R. & Houser, D. (2005) An experimental investigation of cooperative types in human groups: A complement to evolutionary theory and simulations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 102(5), 1803-1807. [.pdf]

Kurzban, R., & Neuberg, S. (2005). Managing ingroup and outgroup relationships. In D. Buss (Ed.) The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology (pp. 653-675), Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. [Buy it]

Goren, H., Rapoport, A., & Kurzban, R. (2004). Commitment in a real time step level public goods game with asymmetrical players and continuous contributions. The Journal of Behavioral Decision Making17, 17-37.

Navarete, C., Kurzban, R., Fessler, D., & Kirkpatrick, L. (2004). Anxiety and worldview defense: Terror-management or coalitional psychology? Group Processes and Intergroup Relations7(4), 370-397. [.pdf]

Goren, H., Kurzban, R., & Rapoport, A. (2003). Social loafing vs. social enhancement: Public goods provisioning in real-time with irrevocable commitments. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes90(2), 277-290. [.pdf]

Kurzban, R. (2003). Biological foundations of reciprocity. E. Ostrom and J. Walker (Eds.), Trust, Reciprocity, and Gains from Association: Interdisciplinary Lessons from Experimental Research (pp. 105-127). New York: Sage. [Buy it]

Sidanius, J., & Kurzban, R. (2003). Evolutionary approaches to political psychology. In D. O. Sears, L. Huddy, and R. Jervis (Eds.), Handbook of Political Psychology (pp. 146-181). Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Buy it]

Houser, D., & Kurzban, R. (2002). Revisiting kindness and confusion in public goods games. The American Economic Review92(4), 1062-1069. [.pdf]

Kurzban, R. (2001). The social psychophysics of cooperation: Nonverbal communication in a public goods game. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior25(4), 241-259. [.pdf]

Kurzban, R., & Leary, M. R. (2001). Evolutionary origins of stigmatization: The functions of social exclusion. Psychological Bulletin127(2), 187-208. [.pdf]

Kurzban, R., McCabe, K., Smith, V. L ., & Wilson, B. J. (2001). Incremental commitment and reciprocity in a real time public goods game. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin27(12), 1662-1673. [.pdf]

Mate Choice [top]

How can "speed dating" inform our understanding of evolved mate choice mechanisms?  

Kurzban, R., & Weeden, J. (2007). Do advertised preferences predict the behavior of speed daters? Personal Relationships, 14, 623-632. [.pdf]

Kurzban, R., & Weeden, J. (2005). HurryDate: Mate preferences in action.Evolution and Human Behavior, 26(3), 227-244. [.pdf]

Social Categorization [top]

How do people assign others to categories? 

Lieberman, D., Oum, R., & Kurzban, R. (2006). Does the family of fundamental social categories include kinship? European Journal of Social Psychology, 38, 998-1012. [.pdf]

Cosmides, L., Tooby, J. & Kurzban, R. (2003). Perceptions of race. Trends in Cognitive Sciences7(4), 173-179. [.pdf]

Kurzban, R., Tooby, J., & Cosmides, L. (2001).  Can race be erased? Coalitional computation and social categorization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 98(26), 15387-15392. [.pdf]

Self Control [top]

Why does it feel effortful to persist in certain kinds of tasks? Why does is get more difficult to do so over time? Is there such a thing as "willpower?" 

Kurzban, R. (2010). Does the brain consume additional glucose during self-control tasks? Evolutionary Psychology, 8(2), 245-260. [.pdf]

Other [top]

These papers don't fit neatly into the categorization scheme on this page.

Kurzban, R., & Egeth, M. (2008). Applied Darwinian medicine: Artificial selection for less-harmful parasites. Medical Hypotheses, 71, 976-977. [.pdf]

Zak, P. J., Kurzban, R.Ahmadi, S., Swerdloff, R. S., Park, J., et al. (2009). Testosterone administration decreases generosity in the ultimatum game. PLoS ONE 4(12): e8330. [link]

Zak, P. J., Kurzban, R., Matzner, W. T. (2005). Oxytocin mediates interpersonal trust in humans. Hormones and Behavior, 48(5), 522-527. [.pdf]

Zak, P. J., Borja, K., Matzner, W. T., & Kurzban, R. (2005). The neuroeconomics of distrust: Sex differences in behavior and physiology. The American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings95(2), 360-363.

Zak, P. J., Kurzban, R., & Matzner, W. T. (2004). The neurobiology of trust. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1032, 224-227. [.pdf]

Aktipis, C. A., & Kurzban, R. (2004). Is Homo economicus extinct?: Vernon Smith, Daniel Kahneman and the Evolutionary Perspective. In R. Koppl (Ed.), Advances in Austrian Economics (Vol. 7) (pp. 135-153). Elsevier: Amsterdam.

Kurzban, R. (2007). Representational epidemiology: Skepticism and gullibility. To appear in S. Gangestad & J. Simpson (Eds.) Evolution of Mind: Fundamental Questions and Controversies. New York: Guilford. [link to book] (see also chapters 13 & 24)

Kurzban, R. (2003). [Review of The tangled wing: Biological constraints on the human spirit (2nd Edition) by M. Konner]. Evolution and Human Behavior, 24(2), 148-152. [.pdf]

Kurzban, R. (2002). Alas poor evolutionary psychology: Unfairly accused, unjustly condemned. [Review of Alas Poor Darwin: Arguments Against Evolutionary Psychology edited by H. Rose and S. Rose]. Human Nature Review, 2, 99-109. [link]