Melissa Mcdonald
Assistant Professor

My primary research area lies in the field of intergroup relations. I am interested in understanding the evolved function of intergroup bias, particularly how that function varies between the sexes as a result of an evolutionary history in which men and women faced distinct adaptive challenges in their interactions with outgroups. Much of my research examines the extent to which men and women's proximal psychology reflects these ultimate motivations. I am also involved in the development of practical interventions to reduce bias between groups in real conflict, as well as the implementation of two large-scale projects aimed at promoting minority students' persistence and success in STEM fields. 

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Adam Tratner
PhD student

My research examines religious and supernatural belief using principles of evolutionary psychology. Namely, I investigate how features of our underlying evolved psychology provide the foundation for supernatural beliefs, religious beliefs, religious affiliation, and large-scale organized religious belief systems. One goal of this research is to shed light on the psychological processes underlying religious orthodoxy and religiously motivated intergroup conflict. Another goal is to understand the ubiquity of supernatural belief across human societies, and the cognitive underpinnings of supernatural belief typologies. 

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Christian Kotoye
PhD student

I am interested in furthering the investigation of intergroup conflict and bias from a social psychological perspective while also understanding the evolved psychology that underlies these phenomena. Specifically, I am interested in the effect of ecological cues to danger on intergroup bias. I also wish to expand upon research aimed to promote minority student and faculty’s persistence and success in STEM fields.



Domenic Roberto
PHD Student

I am interested in studying the evolutionary function of human sexual fantasy. Currently I'm researching the content of fantasies involving scenes of sexual assault and their relationship to individual characteristics. Another goal of my research is to better understand the relationship between the manifestations of fantasies as a whole and how they relate to an individual's current and past interpersonal experiences.


Brenna Coleman
MS Student

My research interests focus on using an evolutionary psychology perspective to study mate selection. I am particularly interested in investigating the biological factors that lead to an individual being seen as attractive or unattractive. I hope to widen the research in this literature, especially in the areas of incest avoidance, outbreeding, and homosexual preferences.

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Past lab members

Samantha brindley

Samantha graduated from OU in 2017 with her MS degree. She is now in the Social Psychology PhD program at Wayne State University.



Jonah Houtz

Jonah graduated from OU in 2019 with his MS degree.


Sayma Chowdhury

Sayma graduated from OU in 2019 with her MS degree.