John Tooby

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John Tooby is an American anthropologist, who, together with psychologist wife Leda Cosmides, helped pioneer the field of evolutionary psychology.[1][2] They have argued that humans have a "cheater detection module" within them in the context of the Wason selection task.

Tooby received his Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology from Harvard University in 1989 and is currently Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

In 1992, together with Leda Cosmides and Jerome Barkow, Tooby edited The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture. Tooby and Cosmides also co-founded and co-direct the UCSB Center for Evolutionary Psychology.

Tooby is currently working on a book on the evolution of sexual reproduction and genetic systems.[3]

Selected publications


  • Barkow, J., Cosmides, L. & Tooby, J., (Eds.) (1992). The adapted mind: Evolutionary psychology and the generation of culture. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Tooby, J. & Cosmides, L. (in press). Evolutionary psychology: Foundational papers. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Cosmides, L. & Tooby, J. (in press). Universal Minds: Explaining the new science of evolutionary psychology(Darwinism Today Series). London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.


  • Cosmides, L. & Tooby, J. (1981). Cytoplasmic inheritance and intragenomic conflict. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 89, 83-129.
  • Cosmides, L. & Tooby, J. (1987). From evolution to behavior: Evolutionary psychology as the missing link. In J. Dupre (Ed.), The latest on the best: Essays on evolution and optimality. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
  • Tooby, J. & Cosmides, L. (1990). The past explains the present: Emotional adaptations and the structure of ancestral environments. Ethology and Sociobiology, 11, 375-424.
  • Cosmides, L. & Tooby, J. (1992) Cognitive adaptations for social exchange. In J. Barkow, L. Cosmides, & J. Tooby (Eds.), The adapted mind: Evolutionary psychology and the generation of culture. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Cosmides, L. & Tooby, J. (1994). Beyond intuition and instinct blindness: Toward an evolutionarily rigorous cognitive science. Cognition, 50(1-3), 41-77.
  • Cosmides, L. & Tooby, J. (2003). Evolutionary psychology: Theoretical Foundations. In Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. London: Macmillan.
  • Tooby, J. & Cosmides, L. (2005). Evolutionary psychology: Conceptual foundations. In D. M. Buss (Ed.), Evolutionary Psychology Handbook. New York: Wiley.

See also


  1. David Buss, in the textbook Evolutionary Psychology (Allyn & Bacon, 1999), pp. xxi-xxii: "In the writing of this book I owe the greatest intellectual debt to Leda Cosmides, John Tooby, Don Symons, Martin Daly, and Margo Wilson, pioneers and founders of the emerging field of evolutionary psychology."
  2. See also Geoffrey Miller, "How to Keep Our Meta-Theories Adaptive: Beyond Cosmides, Tooby, and Lakatos" Psychological Inquiry 11:1 (2000), p. 42: "For a young science barely a decade old, evolutionary psychology has achieved a remarkably strong metatheoretical consensus. [...] [E]volutionary psychology's metatheory was also shaped very strongly by a series of ambitious, persuasive, and visionary articles by Cosmides and Tooby in the late 1980s and early 1990s that showed how adaptationism could be applied to the human mind. The Cosmides-Tooby vision of evolutionary psychology profoundly influenced the thinking of other leading researchers, such as Buss, Gigerenzer, Pinker, and Thornhill. It was also adopted as the conceptual framework in the most influential popular accounts of evolutionary psychology."
  3. Last line of introductory paragraph on John Tooby's personal web page

External links

Articles and media