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GS 2021 GS portraits19

Michael Muthukrishna


  • CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars 2021-2023
  • Boundaries Membership & Belonging




Michael Muthukrishna’s research focuses on the psychological and evolutionary processes that underlie culture and cultural change. This includes the psychology of social learning and group membership and how this psychology plays out at a population-level. His research identifies psychological and social levers of innovation and cultural transmission. To answer these questions, Muthukrishna uses a two-pronged approach combining mathematical and computational modeling, and experimental and data science methods, drawing on evolutionary biology, anthropology, psychology, and economics. He uses the “Theory of Human Behavior” that emerges from this approach to tackle a variety of related topics, including innovation, corruption, the rise of large-scale cooperation, and the navigation of cross-cultural differences.


  • APS Rising Star, Association of Psychological Science (APS), 2021
  • CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Social Sciences, Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), 2016
  • PhD Dissertation Excellence Award, Canadian Psychological Association, 2016
  • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, Government of Canada, 2013
  • Accenture Award in Information Technology and Electrical Engineering for Final Year Student, Accenture, 2010

Relevant Publications

  • Henrich, J., & Muthukrishna, M. (2021). The origins and psychology of human cooperation. Annual Review of Psychology, 72, 207-240.
  • Muthukrishna, M., Bell, A. V., Henrich, J., Curtin, C. M., Gedranovich, A., McInerney, J., & Thue, B. (2020). Beyond Western, Educated, Industrial, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) psychology: Measuring and mapping scales of cultural and psychological distance. Psychological science, 31(6), 678-701.
  • Schaller, M., & Muthukrishna, M. (2020). Modeling cultural change: computational models of interpersonal influence dynamics can yield new insights about how cultures change, which cultures change more rapidly than others, and why. American Psychologist.

Support Us

CIFAR is a registered charitable organization supported by the governments of Canada, Alberta and Quebec, as well as foundations, individuals, corporations and Canadian and international partner organizations.

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