Daniel Sznycer


Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Montreal

Visiting Professor, Universidad Francisco Marroquín


University of Montreal
Department of Psychology
Pavillon Marie-Victorin
Montreal, QC, H3C 3J7




514-343-6111, X36889 

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Research focus


I am a social psychologist conducting research on emotion, cooperation, and morality. I have multiple lines of cross-cultural evidence on shame, pride, compassion, and envy, and their roles in altruism, cooperation, social exclusion, and conflict. I am also working to map the system that regulates how much weight one individual places on the welfare of another. I conduct research on how these emotions and motivations regulate political and moral attitudes, and how they shape communication. The methods I use include experimental economic games, decision-making tasks, cross-cultural and ethnographic data collection, large-scale representative surveys, and anthropometry.



Sznycer, D. & Cohen, A. S. (In press). Are emotions natural kinds after all? Rethinking the issue of response coherence. Evolutionary Psychology. │ SI

Sznycer, D., Sell, A., & Lieberman, D. (In press). Forms and functions of the social emotions. Current Directions in Psychological Science.

Landers, M., Sznycer, D., & Al-Shawaf, L. (In press). Shame. In L. Al-Shawaf & T. K. Shackelford (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Evolution and the Emotions. New York: Oxford University Press.

Scrivner, C., Sznycer, D., Lukaszewski, A. W., & Al-Shawaf, L. (In press). Social emotions are governed by a common grammar of social valuation: Theoretical foundations and applications to human personality and the criminal justice system. In L. Al-Shawaf & T. K. Shackelford (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Evolution and the Emotions. New York: Oxford University Press.

Sell, A. & Sznycer, D. (In press). The recalibrational theory: Anger as a bargaining emotion. In L. Al-Shawaf & T. K. Shackelford (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Evolution and the Emotions. New York: Oxford University Press.

Sznycer, D. (In press). Foreword. In: Mayer, C.-H., Vanderheiden, E., & Wong, P. Shame 4.0: Investigating an emotion in digital worlds and the fourth industrial revolution. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-59527-2.

Apostolou, M., Birkás, B., da Silva, C. S. A., Esposito, G., Hsu, R. M. C. S., Jonason, P. K., Karamanidis, K., O, J., Ohtsubo, Y., Putz, Á., Sznycer, D., Thomas, A. G., Valentova, J. V., Varella, M. A. C., Kleisner, K., Flegr, J., & Wang, Y. (In press). Reasons of singles for being single: Evidence from Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, India, Japan and the UK. Cross-Cultural Research.

Sznycer, D. & Cohen, A. S. (2021). How pride worksEvolutionary Human Sciences, 3, e10. │ SI

Lukaszewski, A. W., Lewis, D. M. G., Durkee, P. K., Sell, A. N., Sznycer, D., & Buss, D. M. (2020). An adaptationist framework for personality science. European Journal of Personality, 34, 1151–1174. │ SI 

Cohen, A. S., Chun, R., & Sznycer, D. (2020). Do pride and shame track the evaluative psychology of audiences? Preregistered replications of Sznycer et al. (2016, 2017). Royal Society Open Science 7: 191922.

Sznycer, D. & Patrick, C. (2020). The origins of criminal law. Nature Human Behaviour, 4(5), 506-516. │ SI blog post

Schniter, E., Shields, T. W., & Sznycer, D. (2020). Trust in humans and robots: Economically similar but emotionally different. Journal of Economic Psychology, 78, 102253. │ SI

Sznycer, D. & Lukaszewski, A. W. (2019). The emotion–valuation constellation: Multiple emotions are governed by a common grammar of social valuationEvolution and Human Behavior, 40(4), 395-404. │ SI

Sznycer, D. (2019). Forms and functions of the self-conscious emotionsTrends in Cognitive Sciences, 23(2), 143-157.

Sznycer, D., Delton, A. W., Robertson, T. E., Cosmides, L., & Tooby, J. (2019). The ecological rationality of helping others: Potential helpers integrate cues of recipients' need and willingness to sacrifice. Evolution and Human Behavior, 40(1), 34-45. │ SI

Sznycer, D., Xygalatas, D., Agey, E., Alami, S., An, X.-F., Ananyeva, K. I., Atkinson, Q. D., Broitman, B. R., Conte, T. J., Flores, C., Fukushima, S., Hitokoto, H., Kharitonov, A. N., Onyishi, C. N., Onyishi, I. E., Romero, P. P., Schrock, J. M., Snodgrass J. J., Sugiyama, L. S., Takemura, K., Townsend, C., Zhuang, J.-Y., Aktipis, C. A., Cronk, L., Cosmides, L., & Tooby, J. (2018). Cross-cultural invariances in the architecture of shame. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(39), 9702–9707. │ SI


Sznycer, D., Xygalatas, D., Alami, S., An, X.-F., Ananyeva, K. I., Fukushima, S., Hitokoto, H., Kharitonov, A. N., Koster, J. M., Onyishi, C. N., Onyishi, I. E., Romero, P. P., Takemura, K., Zhuang, J.-Y., Cosmides, L., & Tooby, J. (2018). Invariances in the architecture of pride across small-scale societiesProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(33), 8322–8327. │ SI

Aktipis, C. A., Cronk, L., Alcock, J., Ayers, J. D., Baciu, C., Balliet, D., Boddy, A. M., Curry, O. S., Krems, J. A., Munoz, A., Sullivan, D., Sznycer, D., Wilkinson, G. S., & Winfrey, P. (2018). Understanding cooperation through fitness interdependence. Nature Human Behaviour, 2, 429–431

Robertson, T. E.*, Sznycer, D.*, Delton, A. W., Cosmides, L., & Tooby, J. (2018). The true trigger of shame: Social devaluation is sufficient, wrongdoing is unnecessaryEvolution and Human Behavior, 39(5), 566-573. │ SI
* indicates joint first authorship

Sznycer, D., Ermer, E., & Tooby, J. (2018). Why do people think that others should earn this or that? Comment on Boyer and Petersen. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 41, e189. 

Sznycer, D., Lopez Seal, M. F., Sell, A., Lim, J., Porat, R., Shalvi, S., Halperin, E., Cosmides, L., & Tooby, J. (2017). Support for redistribution is shaped by compassion, envy, and self-interest, but not a taste for fairness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(31), 8420–8425. │ SI │ Replication and refinement in the UK by Lin & Bates (2020)

Sell, A., Sznycer, D., Al-Shawaf, L., Lim, J., Krauss, A., Feldman, A., Rascanu, R., Sugiyama, L., Cosmides, L., Tooby, J. (2017). The grammar of anger: Mapping the computational architecture of a recalibrational emotion. Cognition, 168, 110–128. │ SI

Sznycer, D., Al-Shawaf, L., Bereby-Meyer, Y., Curry, O. S., De Smet, D., Ermer, E., Kim, S., Kim, S., Li, N. P., Lopez Seal, M. F., McClung, J., O, J., Ohtsubo, Y., Quillien, T., Schaub, M., Sell, A., van Leeuwen, F., Cosmides, L., & Tooby, J. (2017). Cross-cultural regularities in the cognitive architecture of prideProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(8), 1874–1879. │ SI  Replication in 10 small-scale societies by Sznycer et al. (2018) │ Replication in Hawai'i by Cohen et al. (2020) │ Similar findings in 14 nations by Durkee et al. (2019)

Sznycer, D., Cosmides, L., & Tooby, J. (2017). Adaptationism carves emotions at their functional jointsInvited commentary in Psychological Inquiry, 28(1), 56–62

Sell, A., Sznycer, D., Cosmides, L., Tooby, J., Krauss, A., Nisu, S., Ceapa, C., & Petersen, M. B. (2017). Physically strong men are more militant: A test across four countriesEvolution and Human Behavior, 38(3), 334340. │ SI

Sznycer, D., De Smet, D., Billingsley, J., & Lieberman, D. (2016). Coresidence duration and cues of maternal investment regulate sibling altruism across cultures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 111(2), 159177. │ SI

Sznycer, D., Tooby, J., Cosmides, L., Porat, R., Shalvi, S., & Halperin, E. (2016). Shame closely tracks the threat of devaluation by others, even across culturesProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(10), 26252630. │ SI │ More information about the paper │ Replication in 15 small-scale societies by Sznycer et al. (2018) │ Replication in Hawai'i by Cohen et al. (2020)Similar findings in 14 nations by Durkee et al. (2019)

Sznycer, D., Schniter, E., Tooby, J., & Cosmides, L. (2015). Regulatory adaptations for delivering information: the case of confessionEvolution and Human Behavior, 36(1), 4451. │ SI

Petersen, M. B.*, Sznycer, D.*, Sell, A., Cosmides, L., & Tooby, J. (2013). The ancestral logic of politics: Upper body strength regulates men's assertion of self-interest over economic redistributionPsychological Science, 24(7), 10981103. │ SI
* indicates joint first authorship

Schniter, E., Sheremeta, R. M., & Sznycer, D. (2013). Building and rebuilding trust with promises and apologiesJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 94, 242256. │ SI

Sznycer, D., Takemura, K., Delton, A. W., Sato, K., Robertson, T., Cosmides, L. & Tooby, J. (2012). Cross-cultural differences and similarities in proneness to shame: An adaptationist and ecological approachEvolutionary Psychology, 10(2), 352370. │ SI

Petersen, M. B., Sznycer, D., Cosmides, L., & Tooby, J. (2012). Who Deserves Help? Evolutionary Psychology, Social Emotions, and Public Opinion about WelfarePolitical Psychology, 33(3), 395418.

Sznycer, D., Tooby, J., & Cosmides, L. (2011). Evolutionary psychology. In P. C. Hogan (Ed.) The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Language Sciences (pp. 295299). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Sell, A., Bryant, G., Cosmides, L. Tooby, J., Sznycer, D., von Rueden, C., Krauss, A., & Gurven, M. (2010). Adaptations in humans for assessing physical strength from the voice. Proceedings of the Royal Society London (Biological Sciences)277, 35093518.

Sell, A., Cosmides, L., Tooby, J., Sznycer, D., von Rueden, C., & Gurven, M. (2009). Human adaptations for the visual assessment of strength and fighting ability from the body and face. Proceedings of the Royal Society London (Biological Sciences), 276, 575584.

Tooby, J., Cosmides, L., Sell, A., Lieberman, D. & Sznycer, D.  (2008). Internal regulatory variables and the design of human motivation: A computational and evolutionary approach. In Andrew J. Elliot (Ed.) Handbook of approach and avoidance motivation (pp. 251271). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.