My research focuses on the gene-culture coevolution of human social cognition and behavior, along with applications related to human health and well-being at work.
I use lab experiments, evolutionary modeling, and econometrics techniques to better understand social learning mechanisms and the consequences on the aggregate level.
Using successful people as examples of how to behave and how not to behave.
Small differences in social learning strategies at the individual level can significantly influence cultural evolutionary dynamics at the population level. In this work, we focus on success-biased social learning and study social learning complexity and heterogeneity at the individual level. Using a lab experiment and a companion gene-culture coevolutionary simulation, we show that people adjust to success-dependent social information in complex and heterogeneous ways that include the use of successful people as negative examples.
How culture affects fitness: causal evidence at the Swiss language border.
In this work, we test in the field a central assumption of cultural evolution theory: social learning can lead cultural groups to differ in the same environment and drive genetic selection. Distinguishing the effect of culture from other confounds is a difficult empirical challenge that we meet in this study. We exploit the Swiss language border, a cultural border that divides Switzerland without any institutional boundary. Using a regression discontinuity design, we estimate discontinuities in attitudes right at the cultural border. Preliminary results confirm multiple discontinuities related to health and fertility and suggest that social learning generates cultural variation without environmental variation.