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

Hare, B., et al. “The domestication hypothesis for dogs' skills with human communication: a response to Udell et al. (2008) and Wynne et al. (2008).” Animal Behaviour, vol. 79, no. 2, Feb. 2010. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.06.031. Full Text Open Access Copy

Herrmann, Esther, et al. “The structure of individual differences in the cognitive abilities of children and chimpanzees.Psychological Science, vol. 21, no. 1, Jan. 2010, pp. 102–10. Epmc, doi:10.1177/0956797609356511. Full Text

Herrmann, Esther, et al. “Differences in the cognitive skills of bonobos and chimpanzees.Plos One, vol. 5, no. 8, Jan. 2010, p. e12438. Epmc, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012438. Full Text Open Access Copy

Melis, A. P., et al. “Chimpanzees coordinate in a negotiation game.” Evolution and Human Behavior, vol. 30, no. 6, Nov. 2009, pp. 381–92. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2009.05.003. Full Text

Wobber, V., et al. “Breed differences in domestic dogs' (Canis familiaris) comprehension of human communicative signals.” Interaction Studies, vol. 10, no. 2, Sept. 2009, pp. 206–24. Scopus, doi:10.1075/is.10.2.06wob. Full Text

Herrmann, E., et al. “Response [3].” Science, vol. 319, no. 5863, Feb. 2008.

Herrmann, Esther, et al. “Comparing social skills of children and apes - Response.” Science, vol. 319, no. 5863, AMER ASSOC ADVANCEMENT SCIENCE, Feb. 2008, pp. 570–570.

Melis, A. P., et al. “Do chimpanzees reciprocate received favours?Animal Behaviour, vol. 76, no. 3, Jan. 2008, pp. 951–62. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2008.05.014. Full Text

Herrmann, Esther, et al. “Humans have evolved specialized skills of social cognition: the cultural intelligence hypothesis.Science (New York, N.Y.), vol. 317, no. 5843, Sept. 2007, pp. 1360–66. Epmc, doi:10.1126/science.1146282. Full Text

Warneken, Felix, et al. “Spontaneous altruism by chimpanzees and young children.Plos Biology, vol. 5, no. 7, July 2007, p. e184. Epmc, doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0050184. Full Text