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Katherine McAuliffe

Katherine McAuliffe studies cooperation in humans and nonhuman animals, asking how cooperative behavior evolved, develops and is sustained across human societies. Her work combines theory and methodology from psychology, anthropology and evolutionary biology. She directs the Cooperation Lab at Boston College. Work in the lab addresses big questions about the origins of cooperation. For instance, one line of research focuses on how children acquire norms of cooperation across societies, when they begin to comply with those norms and when they begin to enforce them in others. Another major line of research in her lab asks whether (and, if so, when) children and adults are more cooperative with members of their own groups. Her work is committed to the idea that through better understanding the psychology underlying cooperative norms, we can harness their power to promote cooperation in children and adults alike.


Association for Psychological Science (APS) 2017 Rising Star, 2017.

Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Early Career Research Contributions award, 2017.

Relevant Publications

K. McAuliffe, P.R. Blake, N. Steinbeis, and F. Warneken, F., "The developmental foundations of human fairness," Nature Human Behaviour, 1, 0042, 2017.

P.R. Blake*, K. McAuliffe*, J. Corbit, T.C. Callaghan, O. Barry, A. Bowie, et al., "The ontogeny of fairness in seven societies," Nature, 528, 258–261, 2015. *Indicates joint first authorship

K. McAuliffe & Y. Dunham, "Fairness overrides group bias in children’s second-party punishment," Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 146, 485-494, 2017.

K. McAuliffe, N.J. Raihani, & Y. Dunham, "Children are sensitive to norms of giving," Cognition, 167, 151-159, 2017.

K. McAuliffe, J. Jordan & F. Warneken, "Costly third-party punishment in young children," Cognition 134: 1-10, 2015.



CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar Azrieli Program in Brain, Mind & Consciousness


Boston CollegePsychology


Ph.D. Harvard University

M.Phil. Cambridge University


United States

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