Michael Tomasello

Michael Tomasello

James F. Bonk Distinguished 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

Mammen, Maria, et al. “The reasons young children give to peers when explaining their judgments of moral and conventional rules.Developmental Psychology, vol. 54, no. 2, Feb. 2018, pp. 254–62. Epmc, doi:10.1037/dev0000424. Full Text Open Access Copy

Grocke, Patricia, et al. “Young children are more willing to accept group decisions in which they have had a voice.Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, vol. 166, Feb. 2018, pp. 67–78. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2017.08.003. Full Text Open Access Copy

Köymen, Bahar, and Michael Tomasello. “Children's meta-talk in their collaborative decision making with peers.Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, vol. 166, Feb. 2018, pp. 549–66. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2017.09.018. Full Text Open Access Copy

Engelmann, Jan M., et al. “Concern for Group Reputation Increases Prosociality in Young Children.Psychological Science, vol. 29, no. 2, Feb. 2018, pp. 181–90. Epmc, doi:10.1177/0956797617733830. Full Text Open Access Copy

Halina, Marta, et al. “The goal of ape pointing.Plos One, vol. 13, no. 4, Jan. 2018, p. e0195182. Epmc, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0195182. Full Text

Schmidt, Marco F. H., et al. “Children's developing metaethical judgments.Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, vol. 164, Dec. 2017, pp. 163–77. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2017.07.008. Full Text Open Access Copy

Hepach, Robert, et al. “Toddlers Help a Peer.Child Development, vol. 88, no. 5, Sept. 2017, pp. 1642–52. Epmc, doi:10.1111/cdev.12686. Full Text Open Access Copy

Tomasello, Michael, and Ivan Gonzalez-Cabrera. “The Role of Ontogeny in the Evolution of Human Cooperation.Human Nature (Hawthorne, N.Y.), vol. 28, no. 3, Sept. 2017, pp. 274–88. Epmc, doi:10.1007/s12110-017-9291-1. Full Text Open Access Copy

Kano, Fumihiro, et al. “Submentalizing Cannot Explain Belief-Based Action Anticipation in Apes.Trends in Cognitive Sciences, vol. 21, no. 9, Sept. 2017, pp. 633–34. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.tics.2017.06.011. Full Text Open Access Copy

Grueneisen, Sebastian, et al. “Children, chimpanzees, and bonobos adjust the visibility of their actions for cooperators and competitors.Scientific Reports, vol. 7, no. 1, Aug. 2017, p. 8504. Epmc, doi:10.1038/s41598-017-08435-7. Full Text Open Access Copy