Kristin L. Leimgruber, Ph.D.

 Principal Investigator, Lab Director

         Sarah Silverman, Psychology Major

                                             Research Assistant 

                                              Shira Gould, Psychology Major

                                              Research Assistant

Research Projects

In the Social Cognition and Cooperation Lab, we strive to understand the psychology underlying human cooperation.


As humans, we cooperate more often, on a larger scale, and with more partners than any other being on Earth. Investigating the aspects of human behavior that set us apart from other species not only sheds light on the social cognitive abilities responsible for our uniqueness, but also provides a roadmap to promoting cooperation and generosity in our communities. In the Social Cognition and Cooperation Lab, we conduct studies with adults and children between the ages of 3 and 6 to gain insight into the psychology of cooperation over the course of the lifespan.




Brandon and Sarah at the Autumn Research Fair discussing the work they did as Hackman Scholars.

Leimgruber, K.L., Rosati, A.G., & Santos, L.R. (2015). Capuchin monkeys punish those who have more. Evolution and Human Behavior. doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2015.12.002 [PDF]


McAuliffe, K., Chang, L.W., Leimgruber, K.L., Spaulding, R. Blake, P.R., & Santos, L.R. (2015). Capuchin monkeys, Cebus apella, show no evidence for inequity aversion in a costly choice task. Animal Behavior, 103: 65-74. [PDF]


*Leimgruber, K.L., *Ward, A.F., Widness, J., Norton, M.I., Olson, K.R., Gray, K., & Santos, L.R. (2014). Give what you get: Capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) and 4-year-old children pay forward positive and negative outcomes to conspecifics. PLoS ONE 9(4): e96959. [PDF]


MacLean, E.L., Hare, B.A., Nunn, C.L., Addessi, E., Amici, F., Anderson, R.C.…Leimgruber, K.L., … & Zhao, Y. (2014). The evolution of self-control. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(20), e2140-2148. [PDF]


Leimgruber, K.L., Shaw, A., Santos, L.R., & Olson, K.R. (2012). Young children are more generous when others are aware of their actions. PLoS ONE, 7(10): e48292. [PDF]


Hattori, Y., Leimgruber, K.L., Fujita, K., & de Waal, F.B.M. (2012). Food-related tolerance in capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) varies with knowledge of the partner’s previous food consumption. Behavior, 149(2), 171-185. [PDF]


Dindo, M., Leimgruber, K.L., Whiten, A., & de Waal, F.B.M. (2011). Observer preference in the social transmission of novel foraging techniques in capuchins (Cebus apella). American Journal of Primatology, 73(9), 920-927. [PDF]


Brosnan, S.F., Houser, D., Leimgruber, K.L., Xiao, E., & de Waal, F.B.M. (2010). Competing demands of prosociality and equity in monkeys. Evolution and Human Behavior, 31(4), 279-288. [PDF]


de Waal, F., Leimgruber, K.L., & Greenberg, A. (2008). Giving is self-rewarding for monkeys. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105, 13685-1368. [PDF]