Jennifer Mcclung

Research interests

The cognitive basis of cooperation

My research has focused on the interaction between cognition and social factors in humans. I aim to understand the cognition that underlies social phenomena such as out-group bias and cooperation. This research employs a variety of techniques, from experimental paradigms to questionnaire methodologies and computer-based joint action tasks.

Specifically, my research has shown that group membership impacts such capacities as theory of mind, representation of intention, and social learning in adults. Strikingly, my research has shown that people fail to mentally represent others during joint action who have been randomly categorised as ‘out-group’ members, and further that they assign less mental-state attributes to such out-groupers.

My current research as part of an SNF-funded post-doctoral position looks at the cognitive capacities that both facilitate and hinder cooperation. Using paradigms modelled on economic games, I aim to study the interaction between social factors such as group membership and cognitive capacities such as theory of mind in relation to potentially cooperative situations.  I am also interested in the impact different cooperative strategies may have on levels of the paramount ‘social’ hormones, oxytocin and arginine vasopressin. One aspect of this current project will look at the effect different behavioural strategies have on naturally occurring hormonal levels.


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Teaching activities



Jennifer Mcclung





Université de Neuchâtel
Institut de Biologie
Rue Emile-Argand 11
CH-2000 Neuchâtel


+41 32 718 31 28
+41 32 718 30 04


Bureau D127