Dr Emma Cohen

emma cohen new


Associate Professor in Cognitive Anthropology

I am an Associate Professor within the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology (SAME) and a Tutorial Fellow in Human Sciences at Wadham College. My research studies social affiliation in everyday human behaviour, culture and health within a broad evolutionary framework. Current work explores how forms of collective physical activity build and benefit from social bonding and support among individuals.  I have also researched the influence of accent and other social markers on children’s developing social preferences and cognitive factors influencing the transmission of culture.

For my lab website, see Social Body Lab.

After completing my PhD in Anthropology (Queen’s University Belfast, 2005), I held post-doctoral positions at the Institute of Cognition and Culture (Queen’s), the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology (Oxford), and the Research Group in Comparative Cognitive Anthropology (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany and Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Netherlands).

Email:  emma.cohen@anthro.ox.ac.uk
Telephone: + 44 (0)1865 274704

  • Moralizing gods, impartiality and religious parochialism across 15 societies.

  • Consensus statement on placebo effects in sports and exercise: The need for conceptual clarity, methodological rigour, and the elucidation of neurobiological mechanisms.

  • 'Caution, this treatment is a placebo. It might work, but it might not': why emerging mechanistic evidence for placebo effects does not legitimise complementary and alternative medicines in sport.

  • The development of human social learning across seven societies.

  • The cognitive and cultural foundations of moral behavior

  • Religiosity and resource allocation in Marajó, Brazil

  • The evolution of religion and morality: a synthesis of ethnographic and experimental evidence from eight societies

  • Synchrony and social connection in immersive Virtual Reality.

  • The Effects of Social Support on Strenuous Physical Exercise.

  • Interpersonal movement synchrony facilitates pro-social behavior in children's peer-play.