- Professor of Psychology and Co–Director of the Center for Evolutionary Psychology
University of California, Santa Barbara
Leda Cosmides is best known for her work with John Tooby in pioneering the new field of evolutionary psychology. This multidisciplinary new approach weaves together evolutionary biology, cognitive science, human evolution, hunter gatherer studies, neuroscience, and psychology into a new approach to discovering the mechainsms of the human mind and brain. According to this new view, by understanding the adaptive problems our hunter–gatherer ancestors faced during their evolution, researchers can uncover the detailed functional designs of the emotions, reasoning “instincts” and motivations that human evolution produced.
Cosmides is professor of psychology and anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she co–directs the Center for Evolutionary Psychology with John Tooby. She was educated at Harvard and Stanford (postdoctoral). Awards for her research with Tooby include the American Association for the Advancement of Science Prize for Behavioral Science Research, the American Psychological Association’s Early Career Award; a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, and a J. S. Guggenheim Fellowship.
What is Evolutionary Psychology?: Explaining the New Science of the Mind (Yale University Press, 2000).
Co–editor of: The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture (Oxford University Press, 1992).