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Katherine McAuliffe


  • CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar 2017-2019
  • Brain, Mind & Consciousness




Katherine McAuliffe studies co-operation in humans and nonhuman animals, asking how co-operative behaviour evolved, develops and is sustained across human societies.

Her work combines theory and methodology from psychology, anthropology and evolutionary biology. McAuliffe directs the Cooperation Lab at Boston College. Work in the lab addresses big questions about the origins of co-operation. For instance, one line of research focuses on how children acquire norms of co-operation across societies, when they begin to comply with these norms and when they begin to enforce them in others. The lab also looks at whether children and adults are more co-operative with members of their own groups (and, if so, when). McAuliffe believes that a better understanding of the psychology that underlies co-operative norms can allow us to harness the power of those norms, to promote co-operation in children and adults alike.


  • Association for Psychological Science Rising Star, 2017
  • Society for Research in Child Development, Early Career Research Contributions award, 2017

Relevant Publications

  • McAuliffe, K., Blake, P.R., Steinbeis, N., Warneken, F. (2017). The developmental foundations of human fairness. Nature Human Behaviour1(42), DOI:
  • Blake, P.R., McAuliffe, K., et al. (2015). The ontogeny of fairness in seven societies. Nature,528 258–61.
  • McAuliffe, K., & Dunham, Y. (2017). Fairness overrides group bias in children’s second-party punishment. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 146, 485–94.
  • McAuliffe, K., Raihani, N.J., & Dunham, Y. (2017). Children are sensitive to norms of giving. Cognition, 167, 151–59. DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2017.01.006.
  • McAuliffe, K., Jordan. J, & Warneken, F. (2015). Costly third-party punishment in young children. Cognition, 134, 1–10. DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2014.08.013.

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