When we encounter other people, we first and foremost tend to ask ourselves two questions: Is this person benevolent or malevolent? And what is that person’s social status? Likewise, when we evaluate ourselves, we are also primarily concerned with our own benevolence and status. In other words, benevolence and status are the focal dimensions in social cognition and the self-concept. But why? That is, what evolutionary benefits do humans have from a social cognition and self-concept that revolves around benevolence and status? With funding from the European Research Council (ERC Consolidator Grant) our research group seeks to elucidate one potential benefit: Social learning from “good models”–that is, from people high in benevolence and status.
The ideal candidate for the advertised job holds a PhD in evolutionary anthropology or related fields, possesses considerable expertise in human evolution and social learning, and is interested in acquiring additional expertise in quantitative psychology. At present, our research group at the University of Mannheim consists entirely of social and personality psychologists, but the ERC project is carried out in collaboration with anthropologists and biologists from the Human Behaviour and Cultural Evolution Group at the University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus.
- PhD in evolutionary anthropology or related fields, including biological anthropology, evolutionary biology, etc.
- Interest in acquiring expertise in quantitative psychology (social, personality, and/or cross-cultural)
- Ideally, expertise in social learning, human evolution, agent-based modelling, evolutionary explanations for personality variation, and/or evolutionary game theory