Koomen, Rebecca


Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

I am a comparative social psychologist. My work explores social patterns in cooperative behaviour over resources in contexts with social interdependence, such as common-pool resource (CPR) dilemmas, more commonly known as the tragedy of the commons. I study CPR and other social dilemmas experimentally from comparative, developmental, and cross-cultural methodological perspectives. I focus on intra- and inter-group processes to draw inferences about our evolved cooperative skills and motivations for environmental sustainability. My work also encompasses an applied branch of exploration, which focuses on identifying social group characteristics that hinder or promote real-world resource cooperation, as well as testing interventions to encourage sustainability.


Hailing originally from a small town in upstate New York, I am a citizen of the US, Canada, and the Netherlands. I completed a BSc in psychology and zoology at the University of Toronto, Canada. I then pursued conservation work with children in Tanzania, working the TZ branch of the Jane Goodall Foundation's Roots & Shoots programme. Following this, I completed an MSc in comparative & evolutionary psychology from the University of St Andrews, UK. I then earned a PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology's comparative & developmental psychology department in Leipzig, Germany, followed by a postdoc in the same lab. Thereafter, I worked as a senior behavioural scientist at The Behaviouralist, a London-based behavioural science firm, where I specialised in testing applied behavioural solutions for increasing sustainable resource behaviours. I then returned to academic research at the University of Dundee as a Lecturer in the psychology department where I now continue to develop both basic and applied avenues of research.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, PhD "Exploring the evolutionary & ontogenetic roots of human social strategies for overcoming the tragedy of the commons", Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology


Award Date: 23 Nov 2017

Master in Science, Bachelor of Science in Comparative & Evolutionary Psychology, University of St Andrews


Award Date: 1 Dec 2010

Bachelor of Science, Honours Bachelor or Science in Psychology, Zoology, & World Religions, University of Toronto


Award Date: 1 Jun 2007


Dive into the research topics where Rebecca Koomen is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or