After receiving a Ph.D. in evolutionary ecology at the University of California, Davis (United States), Charles had post-doctoral positions at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico and at the Institute for Empirical Research in Economics at the University of Zurich (Switzerland). Before coming to the University of Lausanne, Charles was also a Senior Research Associate in the Economics Department at the University of Zurich, followed by a period as Lecturer in the Psychology Department at Royal Holloway, University of London (England).
Charles' research focuses on the gene-culture coevolution of human social cognition and behavior in domains involving conformity, coordination, and cooperation. He routinely mixes evolutionary modeling with the analysis of both experimental and observational data. Charles has conducted fieldwork in Europe, Western Asia, Africa, and South America. Much of his current empirical research examines the social mechanisms underlying harmful cultural traditions and, alternatively, the diffusion of beneficial innovations. This research often has direct policy implications, and Charles has collaborated extensively with UNICEF, the World Bank, and various NGOs.
He routinely speaks at conferences and workshops organized by the United Nations, the European Commission, and the World Bank. Among other journals, Charles has published in Current Anthropology, Evolution and Human Behavior, Nature Human Behaviour, Proceedings of the Royal Society, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. and Nature . He is consulting editor for Evolution and Human Behavior and a member of the editorial board for Evolutionary Human Sciences .
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