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Joshua Conrad Jackson

Doctoral Student, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Joshua Conrad Jackson is a doctoral student and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He graduated from McGill University with first class honors in 2013, and subsequently worked as a researcher at the University of Otago in New Zealand and the University of Maryland, before joining University of North Carolina.

Josh’s research takes an evolutionary approach to studying the emergence of phenomena related to culture, religion, and morality. In previous empirical papers, Josh has explored the dynamics of incipient human groups, the motivational and cognitive origins of religious belief, and the psychological mechanisms behind homophily. He has also authored reviews and theory papers where he has applied a cultural lens to revenge, social norms, and negotiation. Josh has been trained as an experimental psychologist, but often collaborates with anthropologists, computer scientists, and philosophers, and uses computational and ethnographic methods to compliment behavioral and neuroscience experimentation. He also values the importance of policy-relevant research, and has applied his theory-driven insights to reduce intercultural hostility in the Middle East, and to deconstruct the current American election cycle.

Outside of research, Josh works as a member of the non-profit organization Useful Science, which focuses on parsing and communicating brief, peer-reviewed summaries of scientific papers to large audiences. For the past year, Josh has co-hosted Useful Science’s podcast, where popular summaries are discussed in depth.


  • –present
    Doctoral Student, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill