The AHRC Culture and the Mind project is a major five-year interdisciplinary research project based in the Philosophy Department at the University of Sheffield. The project is funded primarily through a major research grant of £538,000 from the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (to the project director, Stephen Laurence).

The project brings together top scholars in a broad range of disciplines-including anthropology, archaeology, cognitive psychology, comparative psychology, developmental psychology, economics, history, neuroscience, and philosophy-to investigate the philosophical consequences of the impact of culture on the mind and the cognitive and evolutionary foundations of culture. (See also the related AHRC Innateness and the Structure of the Mind project).

The AHRC Culture and the Mind Project is organized around three subprojects.

  1. Folk Psychology & Folk Epistemics (2006-2009)
  2. Norms & Moral Psychology (2007-2010)
  3. Artefacts & Material Culture (2008-2011)

Each subproject involves a number of workshops and philosophically informed anthropological fieldwork, and will culminate in a major international conference that will be open to the public. Information regarding publications based on project research will be posted under the project subheadings and on the project publications page.


H.Clark Barrett, Alexander Bolyanatz, Alyssa Crittenden, Daniel Fessler, Simon Fitzpatrick, Michael Gurven, Joe Henrich, Martin Kanovsky, Geoffrey Kushnick, Anne Pisor, Brooke Scelza, Stephen Stich, Chris von Reudon, Wanying Zhao, and Stephen Laurence (2016). Small-Scale Societies Exhibit Fundamental Variation in the Role of Intentions in Moral Judgment.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Early Edition. [with Supplementary Information, pp. 1-71]. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1522070113

Daniel M. T. Fessler , Colin Holbrook, Martin Kanovsky, H. Clark Barrett, Alexander H. Bolyanatz, Mathew M. Gervais, Michael Gurven, Joseph Henrich, Geoff Kushnick, Anne C. Pisor, Stephen Stich, Christopher von Rueden, and Stephen Laurence (2016). Moral parochialism misunderstood: A reply to Piazza and Sousa. Proceedings of the Royal Society; B (Biological Sciences), 283, 2015262. [with Electronic Supplementary Materials (pp. 1-9)]. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.2628

See Project Publications for more publications.

Project Fieldsites

Amazonian Ecuador Belém, Brazil Peru Western Ukraine Namibia Himba Kenya East Africa Congo Basin Tanzania Hadza Central India New Ireland, New Guinea Fiji Faroe Islands China Fieldsite Western Australia Fieldsite Sumtra Indonesia Bolivia Fieldsite Fieldsite map


This project is sponsored by the UK Arts & Humanities Research Council with additional funding provided by the University of Sheffield Hang Seng Centre for Cognitive Studies and the Rutgers University Research Group on Evolution and Higher Cognition.

Core Group