Koomen, Rebecca


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Research interests

I am an evolutionary and comparative psychologist researching social dilemmas and delay of gratification, with particular focus on common-pool resource (CPR) dilemmas. I study CPR and other social dilemmas experimentally from comparative, developmental, and cross-cultural methodological perspectives. I am also interested in applied methods for redesigning policy and social group characteristics to reduce resource use or increase sustainable behaviours in the real world. 


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 a 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. Following this postdoc, 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 reducing impact from resource use behaviours. I then returned to academic research at the University of Dundee as a Lecturer in the psychology department. 


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