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

Tomasello, Michael. “Jerome Seymour Bruner [1915-2016].Journal of Child Language, vol. 43, no. 5, Sept. 2016, pp. 967–68. Epmc, doi:10.1017/s0305000916000374. Full Text Open Access Copy

Vaish, Amrisha, et al. “Preschoolers value those who sanction non-cooperators.” Cognition, vol. 153, Elsevier BV, Aug. 2016, pp. 43–51. Crossref, doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2016.04.011. Full Text Open Access Copy

Engelmann, Jan M., et al. “Young children (sometimes) do the right thing even when their peers do not.” Cognitive Development, vol. 39, Elsevier BV, July 2016, pp. 86–92. Crossref, doi:10.1016/j.cogdev.2016.04.004. Full Text Open Access Copy

Melis, Alicia P., et al. “One for You, One for Me.” Psychological Science, vol. 27, no. 7, SAGE Publications, July 2016, pp. 987–96. Crossref, doi:10.1177/0956797616644070. Full Text Open Access Copy

Tomasello, Michael. “The ontogeny of cultural learning.” Current Opinion in Psychology, vol. 8, Elsevier BV, Apr. 2016, pp. 1–4. Crossref, doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.09.008. Full Text Open Access Copy

Schmidt, Marco F. H., et al. “Preschoolers understand the normativity of cooperatively structured competition.” Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, vol. 143, Elsevier BV, Mar. 2016, pp. 34–47. Crossref, doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2015.10.014. Full Text Open Access Copy

Schmidt, Marco F. H., et al. “Young Children Understand the Role of Agreement in Establishing Arbitrary Norms-But Unanimity Is Key.” Child Development, vol. 87, no. 2, Wiley, Mar. 2016, pp. 612–26. Crossref, doi:10.1111/cdev.12510. Full Text Open Access Copy

Schmidt, M. F. H., et al. “Children's developing understanding of legitimate reasons for allocating resources unequally.” Cognitive Development, vol. 37, Jan. 2016, pp. 42–52. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.cogdev.2015.11.001. Full Text Open Access Copy

Herrmann, Esther, et al. “Uniquely human self-control begins at school age.” Developmental Science, vol. 18, no. 6, Wiley, Nov. 2015, pp. 979–93. Crossref, doi:10.1111/desc.12272. Full Text Open Access Copy

Schäfer, Marie, et al. “Fair Is Not Fair Everywhere.” Psychological Science, vol. 26, no. 8, SAGE Publications, Aug. 2015, pp. 1252–60. Crossref, doi:10.1177/0956797615586188. Full Text Open Access Copy