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Principal Investigators


Professor
Faculty of Business and Economics
University of Lausanne

charles.efferson@unil.ch

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Charles' research focuses on the gene-culture coevolution of human social cognition and behavior in domains involving conformity, coordination, conflict, and cooperation. He routinely mixes evolutionary modeling with the analysis of both experimental and observational data. He has conducted fieldwork in Europe, Western Asia, Africa, and South America. Much of Charles' current empirical research examines the social psychological mechanisms underlying social norms and cultural traditions that harm women and girls. This research often has direct policy implications, and it has afforded him the opportunity to collaborate extensively with UNICEF, the World Bank, and various NGOs.


Associate Professor
Faculty of Business and Economics
University of Lausanne

sonja.vogt@unil.ch

https://sonjavogt.wordpress.com/

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Sonja uses lab and field experiments to examine the social and psychological mechanisms needed for sustainable behavioral change in development. Current projects include corruption in higher education in Colombia and South Africa, reducing school drop-outs in Malawi, female genital cutting in Sudan, pre-natal sex selection in Armenia, and social learning in Kenya. Sonja's research is in collaboration with UN agencies and local NGO’s. She is affiliated with Nuffield College and the Department of Sociology at the University of Oxford, as well as the Centre for Development and Environment at the University of Bern.

Senior Research Associates


Postdoctoral Researcher
Faculty of Business and Economics
University of Lausanne

soenke.ehret@soz.unibern.ch, sonkeklaus.ehret@unil.ch

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Sönke is a political scientist by training. He has worked on strategic political decision making and comparative political behavior, and has developed methods for online and computational experiments. He received his PhD from New York University in 2017, and was a Research Scientist at the University of Oxford from 2017-2019. He is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Bern and HEC Lausanne. He is broadly interested in the capacity of individuals to make sophisticated political choices, the ability of leaders to sway groups, and in the relationship between motivated reasoning and knowledge representations.

Doctoral Students


PhD Student in Management
Faculty of Business and Economics
University of Lausanne

lisa.faessler@unil.ch

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Lisa is a Ph.D. student in Management at HEC Lausanne and is supervised by Charles Efferson. She holds an MSc in Accounting, Control, and Finance from HEC Lausanne.  She is interested in the evolution of human social cognition and behavior, along with applications related to human health and well-being. Lisa’s current research focuses on the link between culture and diet in Switzerland and the potential of applied cultural evolution to reverse harmful alcohol consumption.


PhD Student in Management
Faculty of Business and Economics
University of Lausanne

maria.pykala@unil.ch

Maria holds an MPhil in Human Evolutionary Studies from the University of Cambridge. She has previously studied the evolution of sociality and cooperation among BaYaka hunter-gatherers. She is interested in the dynamics of human social network structure and cultural evolution, in particular with regards to innovation, collective cognition and collective problem-solving. Maria is a PhD student at HEC Lausanne under the supervision of Charles Efferson.


PhD Student in Management
Faculty of Business and Economics
University of Lausanne

robin.schimmelpfennig@unil.ch

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Robin joined HEC Lausanne as a PhD student under the supervision of Charles Efferson after completing an interdisciplinary MSc combining psychology and economics from the London School of Economics. In his professional career, he has worked in Jordan, Uganda, London, and Zurich. His research interest lies in exploring social and economic behavior from a cultural evolutionary perspective. In Robin’s current work, he investigates when and how social learning can lead to (harmful) path dependencies in decision-making. In addition, this cultural evolutionary approach aims to inform the design and experimental testing of policy interventions in the field.


PhD Student in Management
Faculty of Business and Economics
University of Lausanne

lukas.vonfluee@soz.unibe.ch

Lukas is a PhD student at the University of Lausanne and is co-supervised by Sonja Vogt and Charles Efferson. He received an MA in Economics from the University of Zürich. As a member of the PACE Lab, Lukas works on heterogeneity in social learning. He is part of a four-year research project funded by the SNF. The goal is to better understand the causes and forms of heterogeneity in social learning in the development context and its consequences on the aggregate level (e.g. diffusion of harmful cultural traditions). Further interests include the evolution of cooperation and the application of cultural evolution concepts to sustainability research.

Associated Researchers


PhD Student
Department of Psychology
Royal Holloway
University of London

aysha.bellamy.2017@live.rhul.ac.uk

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Aysha’s current research is primarily on gene-culture coevolution.  She has conducted experimental studies to investigate how similarity modulates the ways in which we learn from others.  She also uses computational models to investigate the evolution of optimal decision making in both asocial and social contexts.  In particular, she studies how sexual selection may impact the perception of romantic relationships among men and women, surely one of the most fitness-relevant domains in which we find ourselves.  She is currently a PhD student in Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London.


Post-Doctoral Fellow
Center for Humans and Machines
Max Planck Institute for Human Development

koebis@mpib-berlin.mpg.de

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Nils is a post-doctoral researcher at the Center for Humans and  Machines at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development.  He is a behavioral scientist working on corruption(un-)ethical behaviorsocial norms and more recently artificial intelligence. You can find more about his work below, on his CV, or via LinkedIn,  Twitter,  ResearchGate  or GoogleScholar. He is a co-founder of the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network and together with Matthew Stephenson and Christopher Starke hosts the KickBack – Global AntiCorruption Podcast.


PhD Student
Department of Economics
Brown University

matthias_schief@brown.edu

https://matthiasschief.github.io

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Matthias is a PhD student in Economics at Brown University.  He is interested in political economy, long-run economic growth, and development, as well as the theory and empirics of cultural evolution. In his current research, Matthias studies affective partisan polarization, population aging and economic inequality, and son-biased fertility preferences.


DPhil Student
Department of Economics
University of Oxford

ashley.pople@economics.ox.ac.uk

http://www.ashleypople.com/

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Ashley is a PhD student in the Department of Economics at the University of Oxford.  Her research interests sit at the intersection of development, behavioral, and labor economics. She studies how beliefs and visualisation (mental simulations) shape economic decision making and whether they can be fostered through educational interventions or skills training. Ashley also investigates the role of frictions in online job matching. She is affiliated with the Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) at Oxford.


DPhil Student
Blavatnik School of Government
University of Oxford

james.walsh@nuffield.ox.ac.uk

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Jamie is a DPhil student at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford. He is interested in the social and psychological foundations of human agency.  He is affiliated with the Centre for Experimental Social Science at Nuffield, Centre for the Study of African Economies, and the Institute of Sociology at the University of Bern. He has also worked with the World Bank since 2013, and in addition to his academic work he provides support to the World Bank’s Behavioral Science Unit (eMBeD) on projects in Lebanon and Iraq. He spends most of his time engaging in diagnostic work to understand policy problems, creating behavioral interventions to solve those policy problems, and designing field experiments to test the effectiveness of those interventions.