Research Interests

  • Conflict
  • Leadership
  • Coalitions and Alliances
  • Race Perception and Categorization
  • The "Who Said What?" memory-confusion paradigm
  • Computational theories of adaptive problems
  • Addressing misunderstandings of the evolutionary social sciences
  • Social, cognitive, and developmental psychology
  • The evolutionary psychology of psychology
  • Philosophy of Mind

Short CV

  • Assistant Professor: University of California, Santa Barbara Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences (2024-onward) 
  • Research Scientist: Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin (2014-2023)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow: Yale University, Department of Psychology (2009-2014)
  • PhD: University of California, Santa Barbara, Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences (2009)


  • Pietraszewski, D. (2023). Seven grand challenges for evolutionary political psychology or: Political ideologies as ad-hoc what? Psychological Inquiry [PDF]
  • McCullough, M. E., & Pietraszewski, D. (2023). On the evolved psychological mechanisms that make peace and reconciliation between groups possible. Behavioral and Brain Sciences [PDF]
  • Pietraszewski, D. (2022). A (failed) attempt to falsify the alliance hypothesis of racial categorization: Racial categorization is not reduced when crossed with a non-alliance category. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General DOI: [PDF]
  • Pietraszewski, D. (2022). Towards a computational theory of social groups: A finite set of primitives for representing any and all social groups in the context of conflict. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 45, e97: pp. 1 - 64
  • Pietraszewski, D., & Wertz, A. E. (2021). Why evolutionary psychology should abandon modularity. Perspectives in Psychological Science DOI: [Open Access Link]                                      
  • Pietraszewski, D. (2020). Intergroup processes: Principles from an evolutionary perspective. In Social Psychology: Handbook of Basic Principles. 3rd Edition. P. Van Lange, E. T. Higgins, & A. W. Kruglanski (Eds). (pp. 373-391). New York: Guilford. [PDF]
  • Pietraszewski, D. (2020). The evolution of leadership: Leadership and followership as a solution to the problem of creating and executing successful coordination and cooperation enterprises. The Leadership Quarterly, 31, 101299. [PDF] [Supplementary Online Materials]
  • Kvam, P. D., Hintze, A., Pleskac, T. J., & Pietraszewski, D. (2019). Computational evolution and ecologically rational decision making. In R. Hertwig, T. J. Pleskac, T. Pachur, & The Center for Adaptive Rationality (Eds.) Taming Uncertainty. New York:Oxford University Press.
  • Pietraszewski, D. (2018). A reanalysis of crossed-dimension “Who Said What?” paradigm studies, using a better error base-rate correction. Evolution and Human Behavior, 39, 479-489. [PDF] [Supplementary Online Materials]
  • Pietraszewski, D., Wertz, A. E., Bryant, G. A., & Wynn, K. (2017). Three-month-old human infants use vocal cues of body size. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 284: 20170656, 1-9. [PDF]
  • Pietraszewski, D. (2016). How the mind sees coalitional and group conflict: The evolutionary invariances of coalitional conflict dynamics. Evolution and Human Behavior, 37, 470-480. [PDF]
  • Pietraszewski, D. (2016). Priming race: Does the mind inhibit categorization by race at encoding or recall? Social Psychological and Personality Science, 7, 85-91. [PDF]
  • Pietraszewski, D. (2016). Evolutionary Psychology. In H. Miller (Ed). Sage Encyclopedia of Theory in Psychology. Thousand Oaks: Sage. [PDF]
  • Pietraszewski, D., Curry, O., Peterson, M. B.,  Cosmides, L. & , Tooby, J. (2015). Constituents of political cognition: Race, party politics, and the alliance detection system. Cognition, 140, 24-39. [PDF] [Supplementary Online Materials]
  • Pietraszewski, D., & Shaw. A. (2015). Not by strength alone: Children’s conflict expectations follow the logic of the asymmetric war of attrition. Human Nature, 26, 44-72. [PDF]
  • Pietraszewski, D., Cosmides, L., & Tooby, J. (2014). The content of our cooperation, not the color of our skin: An alliance detection system regulates categorization by coalition and race, but not sex. PLoS ONE 9(2): e88534. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088534 [Open Access Link] [PDF] [Supplementary Online Materials]
  • Pietraszewski, D., & Schwartz, A. (2014). Evidence that accent is a dedicated dimension of social categorization, not a byproduct of coalitional categorization. Evolution and Human Behavior, 35, 51-57. [PDF]
  • Pietraszewski, D., & Schwartz, A. (2014). Evidence that accent is a dimension of social categorization, not a byproduct of perceptual salience, familiarity, or ease-of-processing. Evolution and Human Behavior, 35, 43-50. [PDF] [Supplementary Online Materials]
  • Pietraszewski, D., & German, T. C. (2013). Coalitional psychology on the playground: Reasoning about indirect social consequences in preschoolers and adults. Cognition, 126, 352-363. [PDF]
  • Pietraszewski, D. (2013). What is group psychology? Adaptations for mapping shared intentional stances. In Banaji, M., & Gelman, S., (Eds). Navigating the social world: What infants, children, and other species can teach us (pp. 253-257). New York: Oxford University Press. [PDF]
  • Pietraszewski, D. (2012). The elementary dynamics of intergroup conflict and revenge. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 36, 32-33. [PDF]
  • Pietraszewski, D., & Wertz. A. E. (2011). Reverse engineering the structure of cognitive mechanisms. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 34, 209-210. [PDF]
  • Pietraszewski, D. (2011). What is argument for? An adaptationist approach to argument and debate. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 34, 86-87. [PDF] PDFPDF
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