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

Haux, Lou, et al. “Do young children preferentially trust gossip or firsthand observation in choosing a collaborative partner?Social Development, vol. 26, no. 3, Wiley, Aug. 2017, pp. 466–74. Crossref, doi:10.1111/sode.12225. Full Text Open Access Copy

Engelmann, Jan M., et al. “Social disappointment explains chimpanzees' behaviour in the inequity aversion task.Proceedings. Biological Sciences, vol. 284, no. 1861, Aug. 2017. Epmc, doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.1502. Full Text Open Access Copy

Hepach, Robert, et al. “Children's Intrinsic Motivation to Provide Help Themselves After Accidentally Harming Others.Child Development, vol. 88, no. 4, July 2017, pp. 1251–64. Epmc, doi:10.1111/cdev.12646. Full Text Open Access Copy

Kanngiesser, Patricia, et al. “Young children mostly keep, and expect others to keep, their promises.Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, vol. 159, July 2017, pp. 140–58. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2017.02.004. Full Text Open Access Copy

Schmelz, Martin, et al. “Chimpanzees return favors at a personal cost.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 114, no. 28, July 2017, pp. 7462–67. Epmc, doi:10.1073/pnas.1700351114. Full Text Open Access Copy

Rapp, Diotima J., et al. “The impact of choice on young children’s prosocial motivation.” Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, vol. 158, Elsevier BV, June 2017, pp. 112–21. Crossref, doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2017.01.004. Full Text Open Access Copy

Sánchez-Amaro, Alejandro, et al. “Chimpanzees, bonobos and children successfully coordinate in conflict situations.Proceedings. Biological Sciences, vol. 284, no. 1856, June 2017. Epmc, doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.0259. Full Text Open Access Copy

Hardecker, Susanne, and Michael Tomasello. “From imitation to implementation: How two- and three-year-old children learn to enforce social norms.” British Journal of Developmental Psychology, vol. 35, no. 2, Wiley, June 2017, pp. 237–48. Crossref, doi:10.1111/bjdp.12159. Full Text Open Access Copy

Hardecker, S., et al. “Children’s Developing Understanding of the Conventionality of Rules.” Journal of Cognition and Development, vol. 18, no. 2, Mar. 2017, pp. 163–88. Scopus, doi:10.1080/15248372.2016.1255624. Full Text Open Access Copy

Ulber, Julia, et al. “Young children, but not chimpanzees, are averse to disadvantageous and advantageous inequities.Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, vol. 155, Mar. 2017, pp. 48–66. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2016.10.013. Full Text Open Access Copy