Human Behavior and Origins (HBO) Laboratory
Kristopher Smith studies social cognition and decision-making with an emphasis on evolutionary function. He focuses on moral condemnation: Why do people judge others’ actions to be wrong and deserving of punishment? His work not only draws from evolutionary theory, but criminal law as well. Example topics include why are attempted violations punished less than completed ones and does moral condemnation have features that make effective at deterring. Other interests include cooperation, hormones and economic preferences, and role of emotions in decision-making.
Megan Williams received her BS in Evolutionary Anthropology and her BA in Psychology at Rutgers University prior to joining the PLEEP lab in 2015 as a PhD student. She is interested in human behavioral endocrinology, olfaction, mate selection, mate guarding and aggression. Her work with Dr. Apicella concentrates on male behavioral, perceptual and hormonal shifts in the presence of ovulatory secretions.
Keana Richards uses an interdisciplinary approach to examine the psychological origins of factors that affect person perception, with a focus on the effects of nonverbal behavior (e.g., vocal characteristics). She ultimately hopes to use her research to counteract some of the negative outcomes of our dependence upon social categorization, including stereotyping, discrimination, and inter-group conflict. She also seeks to understand how these social categorization processes otherwise manifest themselves in organizational contexts.
Sample Undergraduate Projects
Research Assistants in Tanzania
Former Lab Members
Yevgeniy (Eugene) Olkhov received his B.A. in psychology from Arcadia University in May 2014. He joined the HBO lab in January 2015 where he started working with Coren as a research assistant on a variety of projects, including the relationship between testosterone, competition, and economic risk. Eugene is interested in the evolutionary aspects of decision making, consumer behavior, cognitive biases, organizational behavior, and more. He is now pursuing an MS in Business Analytics at Drexel's LeBow College of Business.
Tory Tobolsky received an A.B. in anthropology from Princeton University and a master of philosophy in human evolutionary studies from the University of Cambridge, after which she took a detour examining primate cognition with the University of Oxford. She joined the PLEEP lab as a research assistant in late 2014 and is exploring her interests in the biological bases of behavior via: mate choice; asymmetry; and interactions between hormones, skeletal biology, and behavior. She is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University.