Dr Alex Mesoudi
Associate Professor in Cultural Evolution


I conduct research into human cultural evolution, in which cultural change is studied as an evolutionary process, and social learning, the processes by which we learn from other people. I run lab experiments and construct theoretical models investigating human social learning biases - who learns what, from whom, when and why - and how these generate and maintain large-scale cultural change and diversity.

Many of these experiments and models have examined past human technology, aiming to explain change and diversity in artifacts such as arrowheads or handaxes. Other work has looked at why only humans appear to possess cumulative cultural evolution, where knowledge is accumulated over successive generations. I have also looked at contemporary phenomena related to social learning such as copycat suicide. More recently I have been studying migrant communities, using immigration as a natural experiment for identifying the drivers of inter-generational cultural change and stasis.


  • 2002-2005 PhD, University of St Andrews (School of Psychology)
  • 2001-2002 MSc Evolutionary Psychology, University of Liverpool
  • 1998-2001 BSc Psychology, University College London


  • 2015 - present Associate Professor, Biosciences, University of Exeter
  • 2012-2015 Reader in Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, Durham University
  • 2008-2012 Lecturer in Psychology, School of Biological & Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London
  • 2007-2008 Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Social & Developmental Psychology, University of Cambridge
  • 2006-2007 Postdoctoral Researcher, Centre for Applied Ethics, University of British Columbia
  • 2005-2006 Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Anthropology, University of Missouri-Columbia


Contact details

Tel+44 (0) 1326 253712
AddressScience and Engineering Research Support Facility (SERSF):
University of Exeter
Penryn Campus
TR10 9FE
Office hours

Mondays 2-3pm and Tuesdays 3-4pm

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