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Leda Cosmides (born May 1957 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American psychologist, who, together with anthropologist husband John Tooby, helped develop the field of evolutionary psychology.

Leda Cosmides
Born (1957-05-09) May 9, 1957 (age 60)
Known for Evolutionary Psychology

Cosmides originally studied biology at Radcliffe College/Harvard University, receiving her BA in 1979. While an undergraduate, she was influenced by the renowned evolutionary biologist Robert L. Trivers, who was her advisor. In 1985, Cosmides received a PhD in cognitive psychology from Harvard. After completing postdoctoral work under Roger Shepard at Stanford University, she joined the faculty of the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1991, becoming a full professor in 2000.

In 1992, together with Tooby and Jerome Barkow, Cosmides edited The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture. She and Tooby also co-founded and co-direct the Center for Evolutionary Psychology.

Cosmides was awarded the 1988 American Association for the Advancement of Science Prize for Behavioral Science Research,[1] the 1993 American Psychological Association Distinguished Scientific Award for an Early Career Contribution to Psychology, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the 2005 National Institutes of Health Director's Pioneer Award.


Selected publicationsEdit


  • Barkow, J., Cosmides, L. & Tooby, J., (eds) (1992) The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary psychology and the generation of culture (New York: Oxford University Press).
  • Tooby, J. & Cosmides, L. (2000) Evolutionary psychology: Foundational papers (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press).
  • Cosmides, L. & Tooby, J. (in press) Universal Minds: Explaining the new science of evolutionary psychology (Darwinism Today Series) (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson).


  • Cosmides, L. & Tooby, J. (1981) Cytoplasmic inheritance and intragenomic conflict. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 89, 83-129.
  • Cosmides, L. & Tooby, J. (1987) "From evolution to behavior: Evolutionary psychology as the missing link" in J. Dupre (ed.), The latest on the best: Essays on evolution and optimality (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press).
  • Cosmides, L. (1989) "The logic of social exchange: Has natural selection shaped how humans reason? Studies with the Wason selection task," Cognition, 31, 187-276.
  • Cosmides, L. & Tooby, J. (1992) "Cognitive adaptations for social exchange," in Barkow, J., Cosmides, L. & Tooby, J., (eds) (1992) The adapted mind: Evolutionary psychology and the generation of culture (New York: Oxford University Press).
  • Cosmides, L. & Tooby, J. (2003) "Evolutionary psychology: Theoretical Foundations," in Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science (London: Macmillan).
  • Tooby, J. & Cosmides, L. (2005) "Evolutionary psychology: Conceptual foundations," in D. M. Buss (ed.), Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology (New York: Wiley).
  • Cosmides, Leda; Tooby, John (2008). "Evolution Psychology". In Hamowy, Ronald. The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE; Cato Institute. pp. 158–61. ISBN 978-1412965804. LCCN 2008009151. OCLC 750831024. 

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