PETER DESCIOLI

Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science
Stony Brook University
pdescioli@gmail.com
Curriculum Vitae

Background

2012-2013 IFREE Postdoc Fellow in Psychology, Harvard University
2010-2012 Postdoc, Psychology and Economics, Brandeis University
2008-2010 Postdoc, Economic Science Institute, Chapman University
2003-2008 PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania

Research

My research aims to understand how the human mind uses principles of strategy to solve problems in the social world. Much of my work focuses on moral condemnation, especially the functions of third party judgment, moralistic punishment, and moral impartiality. Another research program examines the functions of friendship by looking at how people distribute loyalties across close friends (friend ranking) and how people obscure their loyalties (rank masking). I have also been investigating the psychological foundations of property and ownership by using a virtual environment to observe resource disputes in the laboratory.

Publications

Thomas, K. A., DeScioli, P., Haque, O. S., & Pinker, S. (in press). The psychology of coordination and common knowledge. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Reed, L. I., DeScioli, P., & Pinker, S. (in press). The commitment function of angry facial expressions. Psychological Science. [pdf]

DeScioli, P., & Bokemper, S. (2014). Voting as a counter-strategy in the blame game. Psychological Inquiry, 25, 206-214. [pdf]

**DeScioli, P., & Kurzban, R. (2013). A solution to the mysteries of morality. Psychological Bulletin, 139, 477-496. [pdf]

Tybur, J. M., Lieberman, D., Kurzban, R., & DeScioli, P. (2013). Disgust: Evolved function and structure. Psychological Review, 120, 65-84. [pdf]

DeScioli, P., Kurzban, R., & Todd, P. (in press). Evolved Decision Makers in Organizations. To appear in Arvey, R. D., & Colarelli, S. M. (Eds.) Biological Foundations of Organizational Behavior.

Kurzban, R., & DeScioli, P. (2013). Adaptationist punishment in humans. Journal of Bioeconomics, 15, 269-279. [pdf]

DeScioli, P., & Krishna, S. (2013). Giving to whom? Altruism in different types of relationships. Journal of Economic Psychology, 34 218-228. [pdf]

DeScioli, P. (2013). Does market competition explain fairness? Comment on “A mutualistic approach to morality.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 36, 87-88. [pdf]

DeScioli, P., Asao, K., & Kurzban. R. (2012). Omissions and byproducts across moral domains. PLoS ONE, 7, e46963.[pdf]

DeScioli, P., Gilbert, S., & Kurzban, R. (2012). Indelible victims and persistent punishers in moral cognition. Psychological Inquiry, 23, 143-149. [pdf]

Shaw, A., DeScioli, P., & Olson, K. (2012). Fairness versus favoritism in children. Evolution and Human Behavior, 33, 736-745. [pdf]

Kurzban, R., DeScioli, P., & Fein, D. (2012). Hamilton vs. Kant: Pitting adaptations for altruism against adaptations for moral judgment. Evolution and Human Behavior, 33, 323-333. [pdf]

**DeScioli, P., & Wilson, B. J. (2011). The territorial foundations of human property. Evolution and Human Behavior, 32, 297-304. [pdf]

DeScioli, P., Christner, J., & Kurzban, R. (2011). The omission strategy. Psychological Science, 22, 442-446. [pdf]

DeScioli, P., Bruening, R., & Kurzban. R. (2011). The omission effect in moral cognition: Toward a functional explanation. Evolution and Human Behavior, 32, 204-215. [pdf]

DeScioli, P., Kurzban, R., Koch, E. N., & Liben-Nowell, D. (2011). Best friends: Alliances, friend ranking, and the MySpace social network. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6, 6-8. [pdf]

DeScioli, P., & Kurzban, R. (2011). The company you keep: Friendship decisions from a functional perspective. In Krueger, J. I. (Ed.), Social Judgment and Decision Making (pp.209-225). New York: Psychology Press. [pdf]

DeScioli, P. (2010). Heavy hearts and heads held high - A review of Glimpses of Creatures in Their Physical Worlds [by Steven Vogel]. Evolution and Human Behavior, 31, 304-306. [pdf]

Weisbord, R. K., & DeScioli, P. (2010). The effects of donor standing on philanthropy: Insights from the psychology of gift-giving. Gonzaga Law Review, 45, 225-289. [pdf]

**DeScioli, P., & Kurzban, R. (2009). Mysteries of morality. Cognition, 112, 281-299. [pdf]

**DeScioli, P., & Kurzban, R. (2009). The alliance hypothesis for human friendship. PLoS ONE, 4, e5802. [pdf]

Kurzban, R., & DeScioli, P. (2008). Reciprocity in groups: Information-seeking in a public goods game. European Journal of Social Psychology, 38, 139-158. [pdf]

DeScioli, P. (2008). Beyond selfish and selfless [Review of Moral sentiments and material interests by H. Gintis, S. Bowles, R. Boyd, and E. Fehr (Eds.)]. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 67, 524-528. [pdf]

DeScioli, P., & Kurzban, R. (2008). Cracking the superhero's moral code. In R. Rosenberg (Ed.), The Psychology of Superheroes (pp.245-259). Dallas, TX: BenBella Books. [amazon]

Kurzban, R., DeScioli, P., & O'Brien, E. (2007). Audience effects on moralistic punishment. Evolution and Human Behavior, 28, 75-84. [pdf]

DeScioli, P. (2007). Peering underneath the hood of morality [Review of Moral minds by M. D. Hauser]. Evolutionary Psychology, 5, 306-312. [pdf]

DeScioli, P., & Kurzban, R. (2007). The games people play. In S. Gangestad & J. Simpson (Eds.), Evolution of Mind: Fundamental Questions and Controversies (pp. 130-136). New York: Guilford. [pdf ]        [amazon]

Unpublished Manuscripts

DeScioli, P., & Karpoff, R. (in prep.). People's judgments about classic property law cases.

DeScioli, P., Rosa, N. M., & Gutchess, A. H. (in prep.). A memory advantage for property.

DeScioli, P., & Shaw, A. (in prep.). Share the wealth: Redistribution can increase economic efficiency.

Kurzban, R., & DeScioli, P. (in prep.). Morality. In D. M. Buss (Ed.), Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology. Wiley.

Neuberg, S., & DeScioli, P. (in prep.). Managing group relations. In D. M. Buss (Ed.), Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology. Wiley.

Invited Talks

DeScioli, P. (2013, November). Function and Variation in Human Property Rules. Stony Brook University, Department of Political Science.

DeScioli, P. (2013, August). Property, Alliances, and Morality. The International Max Planck Research School on Adapting Behaviour in a Fundamentally Uncertain World. Jena, Germany.

DeScioli, P. (2013, April). The Side-Taking Function of Morality. Synthesizing the Evolutionary and Social Science Approaches to Human Cooperation: A NESCent Catalysis Meeting, Durham, NC.

DeScioli, P. (2012, November). Strategy and Counter-Strategy in Moral Cognition. Stony Brook University, Department of Political Science.

DeScioli, P. (2012, November). Strategy and Counter-Strategy in Moral Cognition. Rutgers University-Camden, Department of Psychology.

DeScioli, P. (2012, September). Strategy and Counter-Strategy in Moral Cognition. University of Massachusetts—Amherst, Department of Psychology.

DeScioli, P. (2012, July). Function and Variation in Human Property Rules. University of Alaska Anchorage, Department of Economics.

DeScioli, P. (2012, April). The Territorial Foundations of Human Property. Simon Fraser University, Department of Economics.

DeScioli, P. (2012, April). People’s Judgments About Classic Property Law Cases. Brandeis University, Department of Psychology.

DeScioli, P. (2012, February). Strategy and Counter-Strategy in Moral Cognition. Harvard University, Department of Psychology.

DeScioli, P. (2011, September). Strategy and Counter-Strategy in Moral Cognition. Boston University, Boston Area Moral and Social Cognition Group.

DeScioli, P. (2011, September). The Omission Strategy. Brandeis University, Department of Psychology.

DeScioli, P. (2011, February). Strategy and Counter-Strategy in Moral Cognition. University of Maryland, Developmental Science Colloquium.

DeScioli, P. (2010, November). Mysteries of Morality. Yale University, Mind and Development Lab.

DeScioli, P. (2010, October). Property Intuitions. Brandeis University, Department of Psychology.

DeScioli, P. (2010, October). Who Owns What? Understanding How People Think About Property. Brandeis University, Department of Economics.

DeScioli, P. (2010, May). Mine and Thine: The Foundations of Human Property. Fourth Annual 3UC Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Behavior Conference, San Luis Obispo, CA.

DeScioli, P. (2010, March). Mysteries of Morality. Occidental College, The Cognitive Science Program, Remsen Bird Speaker Series.

DeScioli, P. (2010, March). Mine and Thine: The Foundations of Human Property. Brandeis University, Psychology and Economics Colloquium.

Kurzban, R., & DeScioli, P. (2009, May). Adaptationist Morality. Plenary Address, Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference, Fullerton, CA.

DeScioli, P. (2009, January). The Alliance Hypothesis for Human Friendship. Chapman University, Economic Science Institute. [video]

DeScioli, P. (2008, December). The Alliance Hypothesis for Human Friendship. UCLA, Behavior, Evolution, and Culture Series. [video]

Conference Presentations

DeScioli, P. (2014, May). The Side-Taking Function of Moral Condemnation. Talk given at the Association for Psychological Science 26th Annual Convention, San Francisco, California.

DeScioli, P. (2013, July). People’s Ownership Intuitions About Disputes Between Finders and Landowners. Talk given at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference, Miami, Florida.

DeScioli, P., & Kurzban, R. (2012, June). The Side-Taking Function of Morality: Part 1- The Adaptive Problem. Talk given at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

DeScioli, P., & Kurzban, R. (2012, June). The Side-Taking Function of Morality: Part 2- A Proposed Solution. Talk given at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Thomas, K., DeScioli, P., Haque, O. S., & Pinker, S. (2012, June). The Psychology of Common Knowledge and Coordination. Talk given at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Asao, K., DeScioli, P., & Piazza, J. You’ll Be the First to Know: Loyalty and the Sharing of Good News. Poster presented at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

DeScioli, P., & Karpoff, R. (2012, January). People’s Judgments About Classic Property Law Cases. Poster presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference, San Diego, California.

Piazza, J., & DeScioli, P. (2012, January). Who Else Knows? The Strategic Significance of Secrets. Poster presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference, San Diego, California.

Hailey, S. E., Altshteyn, I., & DeScioli, P. (2012, January). Moral Intuitions of Self Defense. Poster presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference, San Diego, California.

DeScioli, P., & Krishna, S. (2011, July). Giving to Whom? Altruism in Different Types of Relationships. Talk given at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference, Montpellier, France.

Thomas, K., DeScioli, P., Pinker, S., & Haque, O. S. (2011, July). Common Knowledge and Coordination. Poster presented at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference, Montpellier, France.

DeScioli, P. & Wilson, B. (2011, April). The Territorial Foundations of Human Property. Talk given at the Northeastern Evolutionary Psychology Society Conference, Binghamton, NY.

Hailey, S., & DeScioli, P. (2011, January). Moral Intuitions About Self Defense. Poster presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Conference, San Antonio, TX.

Wilson, B., & DeScioli, P. (2010, November). Mine and Thine: The Territorial Foundations of Human Property. Talk given at the Economic Science Association Conference, Tucson, AZ.

**DeScioli, P., & Wilson, B. (2010, June). Mine and Thine: The Foundations of Human Property. Talk given at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference, Eugene, OR.
**Received the HBES 2010 Postdoctoral Award for best paper by a recent PhD.

DeScioli, P., Bruening, R., & Kurzban, R. (2009, May). The Omission Effect and the Design of Moral Psychology. Talk given at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference, Fullerton, CA.

Christner, J., DeScioli, P., & Kurzban, R. (2009, May). Strategic Omissions in a Reverse Dictator Game. Talk given at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference, Fullerton, CA.

DeScioli, P., Kurzban, R., & Nagaraja, C. (2007, June). Divided Loyalties and Rank-Masking Among Friends. Talk given at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference, Williamsburg, VA.

Jayawickreme, E. R., Schueller, S. M., & DeScioli, P. (2007, May). Divided Loyalties and Happiness. Poster presented at the Association for Psychological Science 19th Annual Convention, Washington, DC.

DeScioli, P. (2006, June). The Four Basic Games. Talk given at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference, Philadelphia, PA.

DeScioli, P. (2005, June). Characterizing Reciprocity in Groups: Information-Seeking in a Public Goods Game. Talk given at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference, Austin, TX.

Teaching

Moral Politics, The Political Animal, Evolutionary Psychology, Experimental Economics, Cognitive Development, Human Sexuality: An Evolutionary Approach

Societies

Association for Psychological Science
Human Behavior and Evolution Society
Society for Personality and Social Psychology

In The News

The New York Times. October, 2008. “Civil enforcers take aim at Wall Street.” [link]

The Globe and Mail. June, 2009. “How highly do your friends rate you?” [link]

Los Angeles Times. June, 2009. “You saw it on ‘survivor’: Alliances matter.” [link]

Science Daily. June, 2009. “Be your best friend if you'll be mine: Alliance hypothesis for human friendship.” [link]

Daily Pennsylvanian. June, 2009. "Friends' opinions do matter." [link]

Penn SAS Frontiers. August, 2009. “That’s what friends are for?” [link]

Skeptic Magazine, 15:2. October, 2009. Kurzban, R. & DeScioli, P. "Why religions turn oppressive." [link]

ScienceDirect Top 25. "Mysteries of morality" is the most downloaded paper from the journal Cognition for July-September 2009. [link]

Psychology Today. December, 2009. Kenrick, D. T. “In "Defense" of Tiger Woods, AND of his critics." [link]

Psychology Today. June, 2010. Kenrick, D. T. "Is opposition to pot-smoking really just fear of sex?" [link]

Physorg.com. February, 2011. "Friendships are built on alliances, research shows." [link]

Brandeis Now. March, 2011. "Social media study shows how we choose friends." [link]

Science Daily. March, 2011. "People would rather let bad things happen than cause them, especially if someone is watching." [link]

Greater Boston, WGBH TV. October, 2011. "How social media changes friendships." [video]

New Scientist. February, 2012. "Why we have moral rules but don't follow them." [link]

In Friendfluence, Flora, C. (2013). Ch2. "Get your allies in order." [link]

BBC. January, 2013. "How and why do we pick our friends?" [link]

Scientific American. April, 2013. "How to be a better friend." [link]

Association for Psychological Science. June, 2014. "Angry faces back up verbal threats, making them seem more credible." [link]
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