Default Avatar

Jun.-Prof. Dr. Sebastian Grüneisen

Junior Professor

Entwicklung des Sozialverhaltens im frühkindlichen Bereich mit Schwerpunkt kooperatives und prosoziales Verhalten (JP)
Haus 7
Marschnerstraße 29 a, Room 124
04109 Leipzig

Phone: +49 341 97 - 31861


My research explores the developmental and evolutionary origins of human cooperation. To this end, I run experimental studies with young children and nonhuman great apes investigating the cognitive capacities supporting coordinated decision-making, the commitments emanating from cooperative activities, and the psychological mechanisms underlying prosocial behavior.

In current projects, funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the Horizon 2020 programme (Grant agreement No. 948748), I also investigate the developmental origins of corrupt tendencies from a cooperative perspective. Specifically, I examine children’s tendencies to engage in cooperatively motivated rule-violations, strategic ignorance, and selective norm enforcement, and how these tendencies relate to children’s developing cooperative psychology.

For further information, please visit the website of the Cooperative Minds Lab (üneisen).

Professional career

  • 07/2015 - 12/2017
    Postdoc, Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
  • 04/2018 - 03/2021
    Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan and Center for Adaptive Rationality, Max Planck Institute for Human Development
  • since 11/2021
    Tenure-track professor, Faculty of Education, Leipzig University


  • 08/2005 - 08/2008
    Bachelor in Psychology, Northumbria University at Newcastle upon Tyne
  • 09/2009 - 08/2010
    Master in Evolutionary and Comparative Psychology, University of St Andrews
  • 10/2011 - 06/2015
    PhD, Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology/Leipzig University

I currently teach several courses in the Master's program "Early Childhood Research", including:

  • Developmental Psychology II (the development of prosocial behavior)
  • Observational Methods
  • Cross-cultural Development
  • Comparative Development
  • Neurocognitive Development