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, et al. “Reliance on head versus eyes in the gaze following of great apes and human infants: the cooperative eye hypothesis.Journal of Human Evolution, vol. 52, no. 3, Mar. 2007, pp. 314–20. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2006.10.001. Full Text

Hare, Brian, et al. “Chimpanzees deceive a human competitor by hiding.Cognition, vol. 101, no. 3, Oct. 2006, pp. 495–514. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2005.01.011. Full Text

Melis, A. P., et al. “Engineering cooperation in chimpanzees: tolerance constraints on cooperation.” Animal Behaviour, vol. 72, no. 2, Aug. 2006, pp. 275–86. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2005.09.018. Full Text

Jensen, Keith, et al. “What's in it for me? Self-regard precludes altruism and spite in chimpanzees.Proceedings. Biological Sciences, vol. 273, no. 1589, Apr. 2006, pp. 1013–21. Epmc, doi:10.1098/rspb.2005.3417. Full Text

Melis, Alicia P., et al. “Chimpanzees recruit the best collaborators.Science (New York, N.Y.), vol. 311, no. 5765, Mar. 2006, pp. 1297–300. Epmc, doi:10.1126/science.1123007. Full Text

Hare, Brian, and Michael Tomasello. “Human-like social skills in dogs?Trends in Cognitive Sciences, vol. 9, no. 9, Sept. 2005, pp. 439–44. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.tics.2005.07.003. Full Text

Hare, B., and M. Tomasello. “Chimpanzees are more skilful in competitive than in cooperative cognitive tasks.” Animal Behaviour, vol. 68, no. 3, Sept. 2004, pp. 571–81. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2003.11.011. Full Text

Call, Josep, et al. “'Unwilling' versus 'unable': chimpanzees' understanding of human intentional action.Developmental Science, vol. 7, no. 4, Sept. 2004, pp. 488–98. Epmc, doi:10.1111/j.1467-7687.2004.00368.x. Full Text

Tomasello, M., et al. “Chimpanzees versus humans: It's not that simple.” Trends in Cognitive Sciences, vol. 7, no. 6, June 2003, pp. 239–40. Scopus, doi:10.1016/S1364-6613(03)00107-4. Full Text

Tomasello, M., et al. “Chimpanzees understand psychological states - The question is which ones and to what extent.” Trends in Cognitive Sciences, vol. 7, no. 4, Apr. 2003, pp. 153–56. Scopus, doi:10.1016/S1364-6613(03)00035-4. Full Text