Recent Graduate Students

Bret Beheim became a Ph.D. student in 2007.  He is interested in applying models of cultural evolution to historical processes.  He finished a MA in Social Science at the University of Chicago, on the diffusion of Christianity and firearms into Japan in the sixteenth century. He has also done work on the decline of Mediterranean urbanism in Late Antiquity, and US legal history.

Mika Cohen Jones received her M.S. in Spring 1999.  Her thesis was entitled Cross-Cultural Patterns of Information Transmission: An Evolutionary Perspective.  She worked on a book on anthropological perspectives on sustainable resource management in Ecuador at the University of Georgia (with Robert E. Rhoades). She is currently a lecturer in Anthropology at UNC-Greensboro.

Katie Demps is a UCLA Anthropology undergrad. She began here graduate work in 2005. She is interested in the microevolution of religion.

Edward Edsten is a Ph.D. student in Animal Behavior whose interests are in the mechanisms of social learning in animals, including humans.  He has done a large wave of experiments using guppies as the model system for simple systems of social learning. Ed will be on the job market shortly.

Charles Efferson received his Ph. D in 2006. He is currently a postdoc at the Santa Fe Institute and at the University of Zurich. He is interested in the laboratory and field investigation of social learning and other aspects of quantitative ethnography. His theoretical project is the coupling of ecological and evolutionary models to economic models.

Russell M. Genet is Ph.D. student I helped supervise through the Union Institute. He graduated in 2002. Russ took an early retirement from parallel careers in flight simulator design for the Air Force, and in the design and operation of computer controlled robotic telescopes.  His Ph.D. work involved writing a highly innovative book reviewing evidence that has accumulated in the past four centuries testing the hypotheses about the nature of the cosmos laid out by Giordano Bruno four centuries ago.  Russ' vita.

Vicken Hillis began his Ph.D. work in 2006. He is interested in cultural evolution and the origins of agriculture. He is currently conducting lab experiments in social learning, supported by our NSF grant.

Carl McCabe is a doctoral student in UCD's anthropology department.  His research focuses on cooperation and prosociality, and is emprically based in the informal economy of Beijing, China.  He is presently conducting an ethnographic project related to the Tribal Social Instincts and Work Arounds hypotheses.

Brian Paciotti obtained his Ph.D. in 2002. His thesis work was on the topic of the origins of  institutions of cooperation and violence. He has done field work on the Sungusungu system of informal policing in Tanzania and has studied the statistics of homicide in the U.S.  He has instructor-level teaching experience in criminology and social psychology. He worked as a postdoc on the social institutions related to homicide and on the role of religion in motivating propensities to fairness and cooperation.  He currently works as a researcher for the California Department of Health Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

Lore Ruttan finished her Ph.D. degree in the fall of 1999. Her thesis is entitled Cooperation and the Conservation of Common Pool Resources.  After a postdoc with Lin Ostrom's group at the University of Indiana, she became a faculty member  in the Department Environmental Studies at Emory University.  She is broadly interested in understanding how and why humans cooperate so extensively, and in applying that understanding to problems of resource management both in the United States and in developing nations.

Bryan Vila is a student of Larry Cohen's and mine who received his Ph.D. in 1990. He is at Washington State University  in their Criminal Justice Program.  His interest include criminology theory, impact of bio-physiological, social and behavioral factors on police performance and discretionary behavior , interdisciplinary research techniques, evolution of culture, capital punishment, and street gangs.

Tim Waring became a Ph.D. student in 2005. He is interested in the cultural evolution of fire management practices in India. He has also been our "main man" on the first wave of our cultural evolution in the lab experiments funded by NSF.  He has an NSF predoctoral fellowship and is also a trainee on the Biological Invasions IGERT at Davis. He did preliminary field work in the Western Ghats of  India in 2006.

Matt Zimmerman started his Ph.D. studies in 2007. He is interested in analytical and computational models of cultural evolution. He intends to use these models to help understand intercultural conflict and human adaptation to global climate change.

See also students listed on my colleague  Robert Boyd's home page.