Yo Nakawake, PhD

University of Oxford, School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography

Kyushu University, Graduate School of Human-Environmental Studies


cultural evolution,    cognitive science of religion,    majority group decision,     social norm


Currently I am working on a project examining the coevolution of religion and morality. I am interested in the cultural evolution of social norms, folktales and prosocial religion and is addressing these using a combination of approaches. Specifically, I seeks to combine fieldwork studies, statistical analysis of cultural materials, and developmental research focusing on child-parent interaction.

 I am affiliated with Oxford AthroLab (at Institute of Cognitive & Evolutionary Anthropology) and Kyushu Baby Lab (at Division of Psychology). [ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4911-0740]
      • Current Interest: 
        • cultural evolution 
          • folktale, morality, religion
        • social dominance
          • strong leadership vs wisdom of crowds
          • religion and social stratification


        • Research Method/Experience
          • interactive network group experiment
          • economic/cognitive lab experiment
            • (economic game / decision making / priming / joint action / etc)
          • computational modeling
            • (group decision making / cultural evolution / etc)
          • model fitting analysis on experimental data / GLMM
          • quasi-experiment on the field
          • cross-cultural study
          • biological markers 
          • developmental studies 

        • Programming: 
          • main use: c++ / z-tree / R / Visual Basic / Matlab
          • not much in use: java / html / mathematica



      • Willard, A. K., Nakawake, Y., & Jong, J. (in press). The evolution of the shaman's cultural toolkit. Behavioral and Brain Sciences
      • Krockow, E. M., Takezawa, M., Pulford, B. D., Colman, A. M., Smithers, S., Kita, T., & Nakawake, Y. (2018). Commitment-enhancing tools in centipede games: Evidencing European-Japanese differences in trust and cooperation. Judgment and Decision Making,13(1), 61–72. [PDF]
      • Kavanagh, C., & Nakawake, Y. (2016). Developing the field site concept for the study of cultural evolution: the promise and the perils. Cliodynamics: The Journal of Quantitative History and Cultural Evolution, 7(2), 273-280 [PDF
      • Horita, Y., Takezawa, M., Kinjo, T., Nakawake, Y., & Masuda, N. (2016). Transient nature of cooperation by pay-it-forward reciprocity. Scientific reports6.  [PDF]
      • Watanabe, T., Takezawa, M., Nakawake, Y., Kunimatsu, A., Yamasue, H., Nakamura, M., Miyashita, Y., & Masuda, N. (2014). Two distinct neural mechanisms underlying indirect reciprocity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences111(11), 3990-3995.  [PDF

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