Lab folk

Prospective lab members:

I currently accept graduate students through two graduate groups at UC Merced: Cognitive & Information Sciences and Quantitative & Systems Biology. In general, I look for curious folks with strong quantitative skills who have broad interests in human (or even non-human) behavior in social and evolutionary contexts. Interests in modeling and cultural evolution are particularly desirable. The best way to get a feel for the kind of work I do is to have a look at my papers. The best way to get a feel for what I’d be like as an advisor or collaborator is to talk to me, my students, or my colleagues. Drop me a line with any questions. 

Current lab members:

Cody Moser. PhD student, Cognitive & Information Sciences. Cultural evolution, evolutionary approaches to behavior, innovation, cross-cultural trends, networks, agent-based models.

Alejandro Perez Velilla. PhD student, Cognitive & Information Sciences. Cultural evolution of social structure, hierarchy and decision-making, group political strategies, networks, evolutionary game theory.

Chanuwas Aswamenakul. PhD student, Cognitive & Information Sciences. Cultural evolution of inequality, belief dynamics, agent-based modeling, data science.

Former lab members:

Amin Boroomand. PhD student, Quantitative & Systems Biology. Collective problem solving, machine learning, bioinformatics. Now data scientist.

Ketika Garg. PhD student, Cognitive & Information Sciences, 2017-2022. Foraging, search, random walks, collective behavior. Now postdoc at CalTech.

Ben Falandays. PhD student, Cognitive & Information Sciences, 2017-2022. Extended cognition, cognitive semiotics, cultural attractors, cultural evolution. Now postdoc at Brown University.

Jordan Ackerman. PhD student, Cognitive & Information Sciences, 2016-2022. Computational linguistics, battle rap, multi-syllable rhyming, blockchain governance. Now scientist at Accenture.

Matt Turner. PhD student, Cognitive & Information Sciences, 2016-2021. Opinion dynamics, metaphor, metascience, cultural evolution, data science, agent-based models. Now postdoc at Stanford University.

Pablo Contreras Kallens. PhD student, Cognitive & Information Sciences, 2016-2018. Philosophy of science, scientometrics, emergence of concepts, models of social dynamics. Now PhD student at Cornell University.

Tom Flamson: Postdoctoral researcher, 2016–2017. Cognitive anthropologist with fieldwork in Brazil. Interested in signaling theory, social assortment, evolution of humor. Currently a senior researcher at California Department of Social Services.


Jose Segovia Martin. Visiting Scholar (CNRS; UM6P School of Collective Intelligence), Spring 2024. Evolution of collective behavior.

Peter Steiglechner. Visiting PhD student (Constructor University), Spring 2023. Sociophysicist interested in opinion polarization and climate change.

Mikkel Werling. Visiting MS student (Aarhus University), Spring 2022. Cognitive scientist interested in social network formation.

Giulio Galdi. Visiting PhD student (University of Trento), Fall 2017. Development economist interested in social identity, cognitive distance, models of microeconomic phenomena.