Thomas Morgan's background is in the evolution of animal social behaviors and cognition. He graduated from Cambridge with a bachelor's in zoology in 2009, focusing on vertebrate evolution and behavioral ecology. He completed his doctorate in 2013 at the University of St. Andrews working with Kevin Laland to carry out a series of experiments testing evolutionary hypotheses about human social learning. From 2014 to 2016, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow with Tom Griffiths in the computational cognitive science lab at University of California at Berkeley where he developed a new platform for large-scale online social experiments called Dallinger. He joined the Adaptation, Behavior, Culture and Society group at Arizona State Unviersity in August 2016.
Humans possess both uniquely complex cognition and uniquely complex culture. My goal is to explain the former, by integrating the latter into an evolutionary framework. As such, my work involves two major themes. The first is the nature and evolution of the psychological mechanisms that support culture. This combines lab studies of human behavior with evolutionary simulations and models of decision making to understand when, how and why individuals learn from each other, and the conditions under which complex forms of communication are expected to evolve. Secondly, I use evolutionary models and large scale experiments to understand how culture changes the evolutionary process offering novel explanations for how humans came to be.
Muthukrishna, M., Morgan, T. J. H., & Henrich, J. (2016). The when and who of social learning and conformist transmission. Evolution and Human Behavior, 37(1), 10–20.
Morgan, T. J. H., & Harris, P. L. (2015). James Mark Baldwin and contemporary theories of culture and evolution. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 5629, 1–12.
Morgan, T. J. H., Uomini, N. T., Rendell, L. E., Street, S. E., Lewis, H. M., Cross, C. P., Evans, C., Kearney, R., de la Torre, I., Whiten, A., & Laland, K. N. (2015). Experimental evidence for the co-evolution of hominin tool-making teaching and language. Nature Communications, 6, 1–8.
Morgan, T. J. H., K. Laland & P. L. Harris (2014). The Development of Adaptive Conformity in Young Children: Effects of Uncertainty and Consensus. Developmental Science.
Mesoudi, A., S. Blanchet, A. Charmantier, É. Danchin, L. Fogarty, E. Jablonka, K. N. Laland, T. J. H. Morgan, G. B. Müller, F. J. Odling-Smee & B. Pujol (2013). Is Non-genetic Inheritance Just a Proximate Mechanism? A Corroboration of the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis. Biological Theory, 189–195.
Morgan, T. J. H., & K. N. Laland (2012). The Biological Bases of Conformity. Frontiers in Neuroscience 6, 1–7.
Morgan, T. J. H., L. E. Rendell, M. Ehn, W. J. E. Hoppitt, and K. N. Laland (2011). The Evolutionary Basis of Human Social Learning. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
Rendell, L. E., L. Fogarty, W. J. E. Hoppitt, T. J. H. Morgan, M. M. Webster, and K. N. Laland (2011). Cognitive Culture: Theoretical and Empirical Insights into Social Learning Strategies. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 15, 68–76.