Michael Tomasello

James F. Bonk Professor

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of Georgia at Athens 1980

  • B.A., Duke University 1972


Major research interests in processes of social cognition, social learning, cooperation, and communication from developmental, comparative, and cultural perspectives. Current theoretical focus on processes of shared intentionality. Empirical research mainly with human children from 1 to 4 years of age and great apes.


Children, great apes, social cognition, communication, cooperation, social learning

Tomasello, M. "In Memoriam: Jerome Seymour Bruner [1915–2016]." Cognition 155 (October 2016): iii-iv. Full Text Open Access Copy

Tomasello, M. "Jerome Seymour Bruner [1915-2016]." Journal of child language 43.5 (September 2016): 967-968. Full Text Open Access Copy

Vaish, A, Herrmann, E, Markmann, C, and Tomasello, M. "Preschoolers value those who sanction non-cooperators." Cognition 153 (August 2016): 43-51. Full Text Open Access Copy

Engelmann, JM, Herrmann, E, Rapp, DJ, and Tomasello, M. "Young children (sometimes) do the right thing even when their peers do not." Cognitive Development 39 (July 2016): 86-92. Full Text Open Access Copy

Tomasello, M. "The ontogeny of cultural learning." Current Opinion in Psychology 8 (April 2016): 1-4. Full Text Open Access Copy

Schmidt, MFH, Hardecker, S, and Tomasello, M. "Preschoolers understand the normativity of cooperatively structured competition." Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 143 (March 2016): 34-47. Full Text Open Access Copy

Schmidt, MFH, Rakoczy, H, Mietzsch, T, and Tomasello, M. "Young Children Understand the Role of Agreement in Establishing Arbitrary Norms-But Unanimity Is Key." Child Development 87.2 (March 2016): 612-626. Full Text Open Access Copy

Vogelsang, M, and Tomasello, M. "Giving Is Nicer than Taking: Preschoolers Reciprocate Based on the Social Intentions of the Distributor." Ed. G di Pellegrino. PLOS ONE 11.1 (January 25, 2016): e0147539-e0147539. Full Text Open Access Copy

Schmidt, MFH, Svetlova, M, Johe, J, and Tomasello, M. "Children's developing understanding of legitimate reasons for allocating resources unequally." Cognitive Development 37 (January 2016): 42-52. Full Text Open Access Copy

Herrmann, E, Misch, A, Hernandez-Lloreda, V, and Tomasello, M. "Uniquely human self-control begins at school age." Developmental Science 18.6 (November 2015): 979-993. Full Text Open Access Copy