The Team


Katherine McAuliffe

Principal Investigator   

Katherine McAuliffe is an assistant professor of psychology at Boston College where she directs the Cooperation Lab and co-directs the Boston College Virtue Project. Her past work has focused on how children across societies acquire and enforce norms of cooperation, with a particular focus on children’s emerging understanding of fairness. More recently she has begun to study the psychology of virtue from a developmental and cross-cultural perspective, specifically investigating the mechanisms that promote honesty, fairness, forgiveness and trustworthiness in children and adults alike. She complements these lines of work with a comparative approach, examining how nonhuman animals solve cooperative dilemmas. She received a BSc in Marine Biology from Dalhousie University, an MPhil in Biological Anthropology from Cambridge University and a PhD in Human Evolutionary Biology from Harvard University.


Laurent Prétôt

Post - Doctoral Scholar          

Graduated from Georgia State University with a PhD in psychology, working under the supervision of Dr. Sarah F. Brosnan in the CEBUS Lab. The overarching goal of Laurent's dissertation project was to investigate the relative roles of cognition and ecology in shaping decision-making. To do so, he compared the performance of various primates (including human children, orangutans, gorillas, drills, macaques, and capuchin monkeys) with cleaner fish in tasks designed to be ecologically relevant to fish. For his postdoctoral project, he will investigate children’s cooperative decision-making in socially valid context.


Justin Martin


Graduated with a PhD from Harvard University, working with Fiery Cushman. Justin's research focuses on the ways in which humans regulate each others' behavior. In particular, his research has focused on how humans use punishment to change others' behavior, and how this adaptive purpose has shaped the processes underlying punishment. In tackling this question, Justin has employed online, in-lab, developmental and neuroimaging studies. During his postdoc, Justin will apply this same approach to understanding how humans make partner choice decisions. You can find more information on his research here.

Dorsa Amir


Dorsa is an evolutionary anthropologist interested in the plasticity of human behavior across diverse contexts. She received her B.S. in Anthropology from UCLA, and her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Yale University. Her research adopts a cross-cultural and developmental perspective to explore the role of the local environment in adaptively shaping behavior and preferences. Currently, she is investigating cross-cultural variation in the development of risk & time preferences, early life socioeconomic effects on behavior, and the role of scarcity in cognitive development. You can find more information on her research here.


Richard Ahl

Post - Doctoral Scholar          

Rick received his BA from Brown University and is a PhD candidate at Yale University. His dissertation research, with Dr. Frank Keil, explores how children reason about complex artifacts; despite ignorance regarding how complex artifacts work, children nonetheless know which artifact functions imply complexity. Rick also works with Dr. Yarrow Dunham and studies children's expectations regarding the giving of resource-rich and resource-poor people. He will be continuing this line of research during his postdoc.


Melisa Maya Kumar

Graduate student

Melisa received her BA in Psychology from Sabancı University in Istanbul and is now a first-year graduate student. She is broadly interested in the development of cooperation and morality with a focus on how justice norms are acquired and enforced in early childhood.


Paul Deutchman

Graduate Student

 Paul received his B.A. in Psychology from Skidmore College and is now a first year graduate student. Broadly, he is interested in the ultimate and proximate mechanisms that underlie cooperation and punishment. More specifically, he is interested in cross-cultural and individual differences in cooperation and punishment, how social norms are enforced through punishment, and the role of theory of mind in prosocial and antisocial behavior. 


Gorana Gonzalez

Lab Coordinator                  

Received a Bachelor's of Science in Psychology from the University of Florida and has been part of the lab since May 2016.


Kyleigh Leddy

Thesis student

Senior at Boston College double majoring in English and Psychology with a Clinical Concentration. She has been a lab member since Fall 2017.  As a thesis student, she is researching how and why partner choice and punishment decisions develop in children at what age these behaviors first begin to appear.


Quinlan Taylor

Thesis Student

Senior at Boston College pursuing a Psychology B.A. with a Clinical Concentration and a minor in English. He's been a member since Fall 2016 and is interested in how social partner identity impacts the cooperative tendencies of children within the context of an economic game. Through this, he hopes to discern how  in-group and out-group biases grow to influence social interaction on a broader scale.



Oriella Mansur

Research Assistant

Senior at Boston College majoring in Psychology. Lab member since Fall 2016.


Daniel Gil

Research Assistant

Senior at Boston College majoring in Psychology with a minor in Hispanic Studies. Lab member since Summer 2017.


Kaileigh Conti

Research Assistant

Junior at Boston College majoring in Applied Psychology and Human Development and minoring in Psychology and Medical Humanities. Lab member since Spring 2017.


Lab Alumni



4/29/2017- Congratulations to our very own Katie Lamirato for being awarded The Legacy Grant and the Advanced Study Grant for Thesis Research!

4/4/2017 - Lily Tsoi has received a Dissertation Fellowship from the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences for 2017-2018.

2/13/2017 - Christopher Cole, a former RA was accepted to DePaul University's PhD program in psychological sciences working with Dr. Sheila Krogh-Jespersen on researching the development of social competence

2/8/2017 - Dr. McAuliffe's review of human fairness was published in Nature Human Behaviour

1/27/2017 - Dr. McAuliffe was announced as a 2016 Rising Star by the American Psychological Society (APS)

12/9/2016 Katie McAuliffe was presented the award for the 2017 Early Career Research Contributions Award from the Society for Research in Child Development. Congratulations Katie!