Cognitive and Information Sciences
Quantitative and Systems Biology
University of California, Merced

Office: SSM 255B

What I do
I study how psychological and behavioral traits emerge and evolve in response to social, cultural, and ecological pressures, as well as how those pressures can themselves evolve. I also have broad interests related to cultural evolution, cooperation, and complex systems. Much of my work involves building mathematical models and computer simulations to generate and test hypotheses.

Some of my current projects involve the emergence of signaling strategies, socioecological influences on personality development, the evolution of cooperation, and population dynamics of scientific communities.

If you poke around this site, you can learn some more things about me, check out my publications, and in general see the sorts of things we’ve come to expect from the personal websites of academics.


Representative Publications
Conceptual Papers

  • Smaldino PE (2018) Social identity and cooperation in cultural evolution. Behavioural Processes, in press. [link]
  • Smaldino PE (2017) Models are stupid, and we need more of them. In RR Vallacher, A Nowak, & SJ Read (Eds.), Computational social psychology. Psychology Press. [PDF]
  • Smaldino PE (2014) The cultural evolution of emergent group-level traits [target article]. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 37, 243-295. [PDF][link]

Modeling Papers

  • Smaldino PE, Flamson TJ, McElreath R (2018) The evolution of covert signaling. Scientific Reports 8: 4905. [link]
  • Smaldino PE, McElreath R (2016) The natural selection of bad science. Royal Society Open Science 3: 160384[link]
  • Smaldino PE, Lubell M (2014) Institutions and cooperation in an ecology of games. Artificial Life 20(2): 207-221. [PDF]
  • Smaldino PE, Schank JC, McElreath R (2013) Increased costs of cooperation help cooperators in the long run. The American Naturalist 181(4): 451–463. [PDF]