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Phone: +44 (0) 28 9097 1170    Email:  

Dr Paulo Sousa is Director of the ICC and Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Anthropology. He holds a BA and a MA in anthropology (University of Brasilia, Brazil), a MA in cognitive science (Institut Jean Nicod, Paris), and a PhD in anthropology with specialization in cognition and culture (University of Michigan, USA). He has participated in many cross-cultural projects and published numerous articles in the field of cognition and culture. He also applied an epidemiological approach to the history of ideas of anthropology that stimulated a major controversy. His current research interests focus on agency, moral psychology and inter-group conflict as well as their relation to religion. He is currently writing a book on how ordinary people conceptualize the relationship between harm and morality. See Sousa's publications.

Assistant Director 

Phone: +44 (0) 28 9097 1173    Email:

Dr Jonathan Lanman is the Assistant Director of the ICC and Lecturer in Cognition and Culture, and Anthropology. He previously taught as a Departmental and College Lecturer at the University of Oxford from 2009-2011. He holds a DPhil and an MSc in Anthropology from Oxford, an M.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a B.A. in English from Southeast Missouri State University. He is interested in applying the theories and tools of both social and cognitive anthropology to issues in the study of religion, atheism, morality, and intergroup relations. His DPhil research yielded both a descriptive and explanatory account of atheism in the contemporary West, which he is writing up as a monograph. At present, he is collaborating with anthropologists and psychologists on an ESRC Large Grant, entitled Ritual, Community, and Conflict, to ascertain the effects of ritual on ingroup cohesion and outgroup hostility across a range of contexts.

Postdoctoral Researcher


Dr. Lauren Swiney is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford, and a visiting Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institute of Cognition and Culture, Queen’s University Belfast.  She holds a BA (summa cum laude) from Princeton University, and has completed both an MA (with distinction) and a PhD in Cognition and Culture at Queen’s University Belfast.  Her research investigates the cognitive basis of complex human beliefs, experiences and behaviours associated with religion and moral reasoning. One branch of her research concerns beliefs and practices relating to self, mind and thought. She has conducted a series of studies eliciting misattributions of agency for thought in the lab using the novel Mind-to-Mind paradigm, the results of which suggest that the experience of self-agency in the realm of thought may not be as robust as widely assumed.  Another branch of her research is concerned with the cognitive basis of moral intuitions, with a particular focus on rights and responsibilities related to the bodily self. Lauren is currently working as part of the project “Religion’s Impact on Human Life”, at the University of Oxford.  In collaboration with Dr. Jon Lanman and Professor Harvey Whitehouse, she is investigating questions of personal identity and the effects of ritual practice on personal relationships with God.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Phone: +44 (0)28 9097 1303   Email:

Dr Michael D. Buhrmester is a visiting postdoctoral researcher at the ICC and researcher at the University of Oxford. He earned his B.A. in Plan II Honors and Psychology (2007) and his PhD in Social & Personality Psychology (2013) from the University of Texas at Austin under the supervision of Dr. William B. Swann, Jr. He has published broadly on the nature of self-motives and the interplay of the personal and social self. In collaboration with an interdisciplinary group, his current work focuses on the antecedents, nature, and consequences of group bonding, prosociality, and conflict. He is specifically interested in elaborating upon empirical work on the newly introduced "identity fusion" construct. He is also interested in online methods of data collection in psychology.

Honorary Professor


Prof Harvey Whitehouse was the founding Director of the ICC. He is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford, where he created the Institute for Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology and the Centre for Anthropology and Mind. A specialist in Melanesian religion, he carried out two years of field research on a ‘cargo cult’ in New Britain, Papua New Guinea in the late eighties. His books include: Inside the Cult (1995), Arguments and Icons (2000), and Modes of Religiosity (2004). See Whitehouse's webpage.

Honorary Professor


Prof Jerome H. Barkow is an anthropologist with a career-long interest in evolution and human behavior, with a particular focus on the adaptations that make it possible for human populations to edit local culture with each generation in a manner that, at least until recently, kept cultural information pools at least somewhat adapted to local conditions. His current research uses commercial films to study the attentional mechanisms involved in socially mediated culture-editing. Among Barkow’s publications is Darwin, Sex, and Status: Biological Approaches to Mind and Culture. He is a co-editor, along with Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, of The Adapted Mind.

Associate Researcher


Dr Claire White is an Associate Researcher of the ICC. She obtained a BSc in psychology from Queen's University and a PhD from the ICC. Claire has worked at the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and King's College, London. She was a temporary Lecturer in Cognition and Culture at the ICC from 2010 until September of 2012. She is now Assistant Professor at the Department of Religious Studies of California State University, Northridge. Claire is interested in folk concepts of personal identity and bereavement from the perspectives of cognitive anthropology, experimental psychology and experimental philosophy. See White's webpage.

Contact Information

General Office Location: 
14 University Square, Room G01
Mon - Friday, 8.30 - 4.30pm
Tel:  +44 (0) 28 9097 3701
Fax: +44 (0) 28 9097 3700

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