CV

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Quentin Atkinson is a Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Auckland, a Research Associate in the Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, and a Research Affiliate of the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography at the University of Oxford. Before coming to the University of Auckland in 2010 Quentin was a research fellow in the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Wolfson College. He has also held research positions in the School for the Study of Religion at the University of Aarhus, Denmark, and with Professor Mark Pagel in the Zoology Department at the University of Reading, UK. Quentin has served for five years as an Associate Editor for Evolution and Human Behavior, and is currently on the editorial boards of the journals Religion, Brain and Behavior and Diachronica.

EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS:
2003-2006                   University of Auckland, PhD in Psychology (Best Doctoral Thesis Award)
1998-2002                   BA (1st Class Honours), University of Auckland (Senior Scholar in Psychology)

PREVIOUS/CONCURRENT POSITIONS:
2014- present       Research Associate, Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
2010-present        Research Affiliate, Department of Anthropology, University of Oxford, UK
2009-2010            Methodology Lecturer, Anthropology Department, University of Oxford, UK
2007-2010            Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Anthropology Department, University of Oxford, UK
2006-2007            Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Zoology Department, University of Reading, UK

SIGNIFICANT DISTINCTIONS / AWARDS:
2017                Vice Chancellor’s Excellence Award in Environmental Sustainability, University of Auckland
2016                Vice Chancellor’s Research Excellence Award, University of Auckland
2012-2018       Rutherford Discovery Fellow, Royal Society, New Zealand
2007-2010       Research Fellow, Wolfson College, University of Oxford
2007                Royal Society Travel Award, UK
2006                Best Doctoral Thesis Award, University of Auckland, New Zealand
2003-2006       Bright Futures Top Achiever Doctoral Scholarship, New Zealand,
2004/2005      New Zealand Young Scientist of the Year (People and Society division)
2004                Royal Society of New Zealand Travel Award
2002-2003       Science Faculty Summer Scholarship, University of Auckland
2002                Science Faculty Senior Scholarship, University of Auckland
2002                Senior Scholar in Psychology, University of Auckland
2002                Senior Prize in Philosophy, University of Auckland

TEACHING:
Courses:
2008-2010       Evolutionary Psychology, MSc in Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, Univ of Oxford.
2010-               Evolution, Behaviour and Cognititon, BSc, Department of Psychology, University of Auckland
2010-               Evolution and Human Behaviour, MSc, Department of Psychology, University of Auckland
2011-2016       Sustainability and Psychology, MSc, Department of Psychology, University of Auckland
2017-               Introduction to Science and Innovation, Advanced BSc, University of Auckland

Recent Invited Lectures:

Atkinson, Q. D. (2020). Political Gaming: what behavioural economics can teach us about the foundations of political ideology. Guest lecture. MLD-302: Behavioral Decision Making. Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University, 7th April, 2020.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2017). Computational Phylogenetics (Working with Trees): Bayesian Inference of Language Phylogenies, part of the New Methods in Digital Historical Linguistics at the International Conference on Historical Linguistics, San Antonia, TX, 30th July, 2017

Atkinson, Q. D. (2016). Cultural Diversity in the Light of Evolution, Human Evolutionary Biology Department, Harvard University, 28th March, 2016.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2015). Religion as a cultural adaptation in the Pacific. Department of Psychology, University of Otago, New Zealand, 14th December, 2015.

Harre, N. & Atkinson, Q. D. (2015). Psychology for a Sustainable Future. Psychology Day, Auckland University of Technology, 14th November 2015.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2015). Religiosity and expanding the cooperative sphere in Kastom and Christian villages on Tanna, Vanuatu. Religion in the Text and on the Ground, Cultural Evolution of Religion Consortium (CERC) Plenary, Montreal, Canada, 8th-10th May, 2015.

Atkinson, Q. D., Passmore, S. & Rookias, R. (2014). Quantifying the legacy of cultural ancestry in the 21st century. Evolutionary analysis beyond the gene, Theo Murphy Meeting, Kavli Royal Society International Centre, UK, 17th-18th November, 2014.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2014). Genes, languages and the human colonization of the globe. Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture, 33rd workshop of the International School of Ethology “What made us human? Biological and cultural Evolution of Homo sapiens”, Erice, Sicily, ITALY, 14th-19th October, 2014. http://www.erice2014humanevo.it/

Atkinson, Q. D. (2014). Phylogeographic inference in Australia. Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada, Paris, 21st October 2014.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2014). Phylogeographic inference in Australia. Muséum national d’histoire naturelle, Paris, 7th October 2014.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2014). Is God an Adaptation? Reason and Science Society, University of Auckland, 19th August, 2014. 

Atkinson, Q. D. (2013). The evolution of language and culture through time and space. Muséum national d’histoire naturelle, Paris, 27th June 2013. 

Atkinson, Q. D. (2013). The evolution of language and culture through time and space. Estonian BioCentre, University of Tartu, Estonia, 5th June 2013.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2013) Tracing human cultural ancestry. International Conference on Evolutionary Patterns, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal, 27th–29th May, 2013.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2013) The evolution of religion. Talking Science, University of Auckland, 30th April 2013.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2012). The ghost of cultures past. Using Bayesian comparative techniques to model social and behavioural evolution, Royal Society Fellows International Scientific Seminar, Kavli Royal Society International Centre, UK, 10th-11th December, 2012. 

Atkinson, Q. D. (2012). Quantifying language change. Linguistic Students Society, University of Auckland, New Zealand, 4th October, 2012.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2012) Language change in time and space. Auckland Bioengineering Institute, Auckland, New Zealand, 31st July, 2012.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2012). Using language to trace cultural ancestry. Culture, Cognition and Co-evolution Lab, University of British Colombia, Vancouver, Canada, 9th July, 2012.

Atkinson, Q. D., Ostler, N., Erard, M. (2012) Saving Babel – Panel discussion (Isabel Hilton chair), HowTheLightGetsIn2012, Institute of Art and Ideas, Hay-on-Wye, UK, 2012.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2012) Language change in time and space. Language Evolution and Computation Research Unit, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, 4th June, 2012.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2012). Curious parallels: language, biology and art. Old Genes: Artists reading Len Lye. Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, New Zealand, 18th February, 2012.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2011) Modelling the expansion of languages. CNRS Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Lyon, France, 15th December, 2011.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2011) Modelling the origin of Indo-European languages in time and space. Applied Language Studies and Linguistics Seminar, University of Auckland, New Zealand, 26th October, 2011.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2011) Language change in time and space. Human evolution – plagues, pathogens and selection, Kavli Royal Society International Centre, UK, 8th-9th June, 2011.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2010) Charting cultural genealogies using language phylogenies: a Bayesian approach. Anthrotree workshop, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 3rd -6th June, 2010.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2010) The cultural evolution of human languages. Centre for Behavior, Evolution and Culture, University of California, Los Angeles, 1st June, 2010.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2009) An evolutionary approach to studying cultural diversity. Anthropology Department, University of Oxford, UK, 10th December, 2009.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2009) The evolution of languages. Zoology Department, University of Bern, Switzerland, 12th April, 2009.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2008) Modeling the cultural evolution of religion. Department for the Study of Religion, University of Aarhus, Denmark, 18th December, 2008.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2008) Modeling cultural evolution. Religion, Cognition and Culture Group, University of Aarhus, Denmark, 27th November, 2008.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2008) Darwin’s Tower of Babel – the evolution of languages. JRF Seminar, Wolfson College, University of Oxford, 4th June, 2008.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2008) Tempo and Mode in Language Evolution. Complex Agent-Based Dynamic Networks (CABDyN) Seminar series, Said Business School, University of Oxford, 3rd June, 2008.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2008) Tempo and Mode in Language Evolution. Evolutionary Anthropology Research Group, Department of Anthropology, Durham University, Durham, UK, 19th February, 2008.

Atkinson, Q. D., Gray, R. D. and Drummond, A. J. (2008). Human population expansions, Bayesian skyline plots, mtDNA…and languages. Mathematical Genetics and Bioinformatics Group Seminar series, University of Oxford, 12th February, 2008.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2007). How old is the Indo-European language family? BA Festival of Science, York, 10th-14th September, 2007.

Atkinson, Q. D. and Gray, R. D. (2006). Language evolution and Mayan origins – a story of three Victorian best-sellers. Department of Anthropology, University College, London, UK, September, 2006.

Recent Conference Presentations:

Atkinson, Q. D. Blasi, D., Barth, W., Bouckaert, R., Bowern, C., Chacon, T., Collins, J., Dunn, M., Evans, N., Forkel, R., Greenhill, S., Hammarström, H., Haspelmath, M., Haynie, H., Levinson, S., List, M., Maurits, L., Quinn, K., Skirgård, H., Vesakoski O. & Gray, R. D. (2017). The Glottobank project: a global language database. Cultural Evolution Society Inaugural Meeting, Jena, Germany, 13th-15th September, 2017. 

Vardy, T. & Atkinson, Q. D. (2017). Altruistic giving before and after a natural disaster. 29th Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference, Boise, Idaho, May 31st – June 3rd, 2017.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2017) Why would anyone believe in climate change? Kiwi Foo 2017, Snells Beach, New Zealand, 5th-7th March, 2017.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2016). Religion and the cooperative sphere on Tanna Island. 23rd International Congress of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology, Nagoya, Japan, 31st July-3rd August, 2016.

Vardy, T. & Atkinson, Q. D. (2016). Prosocial preferences and the social function of religion on

Tanna Island, Vanuatu. 28th Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference, Vancouver, Canada, June 29th – July 2nd, 2016.

Atkinson, Q. D., Watts, J., Sheehan, O., Bulbulia, J., Gray, R.D. (2016). Ritual human sacrifice and the  evolution of stratified societies. 28th Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference, Vancouver, Canada, June 29th – July 2nd, 2016.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2015). Modeling the Evolution of Languages. Linguistics Society of New Zealand, Dunedin, 14th-15th December, 2015.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2015) Modeling the spread of Abrahamic religions. XXI World Congress of the International Association for the History of Religions, Erfurt, Germany, 23rd-29th August, 2015.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2015) Religiosity and expanding the cooperative sphere in Kastom and Christian villages on Tanna, Vanuatu. XXI World Congress of the International Association for the History of Religions, Erfurt, Germany, 23rd-29th August, 2015.

Atkinson, Q. D., Sookias, R., & Passmore, S. (2014). The legacy of cultural ancestry among modern nation states. 113th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Washington D.C., 3rd-7th December, 2014. 

Atkinson, Q. D., Bouckaert, R. & Bowern, C. (2014). Phylogeographic inference from linguistic data: Pama-Nyungan. 47th Annual Meeting of Societas Linguistica Europaea, Poznan, Poland, 11th-14th September, 2014.

Atkinson, Q. D. & Coomber, T. (2014) Cultural and environmental predictors of pre-European deforestation on Pacific Islands. 26th Human Behavior and Evolution Society Conference, Natal, Brazil, July 30th – August 2nd, 2014.

Kamilar J.M. & Atkinson, Q. D. (2014) Patterns of cultural nestedness in humans, chimpanzees, and orangutans. 83rd Annual Meeting of the American-Association-of-Physical-Anthropologists, Calgary, CANADA, 08 Apr 2014 – 12 Apr 2014. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY. WILEY-BLACKWELL. 153: 154-155. 01 Mar 2014 URL

Atkinson, Q. D. (2014) Can we see the ghost of cultures past? – Testing for statistical non-independence between human cultures, 18th Annual New Zealand Phylogenetics Meeting, Onetangi Beach, Waiheke Island, 2nd-7th February, 2014.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2013) The evolution of culture through time and space. 25th Conference for the Human Behavior and Evolution Society, Miami Beach, Florida, 17th-20th July, 2013. 

Atkinson, Q. D., Bouckaert, R., Greenhill, S. J., Alekseyenko, A. V., Gray, R. D., Drummond, A. J., Suchard, M., and Lemey, P. (2012). Phylogeographic Approaches to Tracing Human Cultural Ancestry. 111th American Anthropological Association Meeting. San Francisco, USA, 14-18th November, 2012.

Atkinson, Q. D., Ross, R. & Greenhill, S. J. (2012). Population Structure and Cultural Geography of a Folktale in Europe. Biological and Cultural Evolution and Their Interactions, Aarhus, Denmark, 26-30th June, 2012.

Atkinson, Q. D. & Latham, A. (2012). Tracing the origins of moralizing high gods. International Association for the Cognitive Science of Religion Conference, Aarhus, Denmark, 26-30th June, 2012.

Atkinson, Q. D., Bouckaert, R., Greenhill, S. J., Alekseyenko, A. V., Gray, R. D., Drummond, A. J., Suchard, M., and Lemey, P. (2011). Modelling spatial expansion on language trees. 20th International Conference on Historical Linguistics. Osaka, Japan, 25-30th July, 2011.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2011). Tracing language origins in Space and Time. NZ Phylogenetics Meeting, Leigh, New Zealand, 6-11 February, 2011.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2010). Explaining Religion Project – How do religions evolve? Religion: A human phenomenon. IAHR XXth world congress. University of Toronto, Canada, 15-21 August, 2010. (http://www.religion.utoronto.ca/resources/iahr.htm)

Poster: Bouratt, P. and Atkinson, Q. D. (2010). Supernatural policing and human cooperation. IAHR XXth world congress. University of Toronto, Canada, 15-21 August, 2010. (http://www.religion.utoronto.ca/resources/iahr.htm)

Atkinson, Q. D., Bourrat, P., and Whitehouse, H. (2010) Cross-cultural variation in religious belief and practice. Cognition, Religion and Theology project conference, Merton College, Oxford, 27th June – 1st  July, 2010.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2009). The prospects of tracing deep language ancestry. International Conference on Molecular Anthropology in the Genomic Era, Rome, 3rd-5th December, 2009.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2009). Religion as a cultural replicator. Explaining Religion, 2nd project conference, Oxofrd, UK, 17th-19th August, 2009.

Atkinson, Q. D. (2009) Modelling spatial variation in language data – a biological approach. 19th International Conference on Historical Linguistics, Nijmegen, Netherlands, 10th-14th August, 2009.

Atkinson, Q.D. (2008). Classification and the Tempo of Language Change. New Directions in Historical Linguistics, Lyon, 12th-14th May, 2008.

Atkinson, Q. D., Meade, A., and Pagel, M. (2007). Frequencies of word use predict rates of lexical evolution throughout Indo-European history. Modern Approaches to Investigating Cultural Evolution, Department of Anthropology, University College, London, UK, 9th November, 2007.

Atkinson, Q. D., Meade, A., and Pagel, M. (2007). Frequencies of word use predict rates of lexical evolution throughout Indo-European history. 18th International Conference on Historical Linguistics, Montreal, 6th-11th August, 2007.

Atkinson, Q. D., Gray, R. D., and Drummond, A. (2007). Genetic evidence for a major Southern Asian chapter in human prehistory. Evolution 2007 (the combined meeting of the American Society of Naturalists, the Society for the Study of Evolution and the Society of Systematic Biologists), Christchurch, New Zealand,16th-20th June, 2007.

Atkinson, Q. D., Meade, A., Venditti, C. and Pagel, M. (2007). Language families reveal historical signal of punctuational evolution. Evolution 2007 (the combined meeting of the American Society of Naturalists, the Society for the Study of Evolution and the Society of Systematic Biologists), Christchurch, New Zealand,16th-20th June, 2007.

Atkinson, Q. D., Meade, A., and Pagel, M. (2006). Understanding rates of language evolution. Presented at The Divergence of Languages: Mathematical Modelling and Estimation, St Peter’s College, Oxford, 7th December 2006.

Atkinson, Q. D., Gray, R. D., and Drummond, A. (2006). The Perils of Dating Eve – Time-dependency in human mtDNA rate estimates. Evolution 2006 (the combined meeting of the American Society of Naturalists, the Society for the Study of Evolution and the Society of Systematic Biologists), Stony Brook, NY, June 23rd-27th, 2006.

Atkinson, Q. D., Greenhill, S. J. and Gray, R. D. (2005). If Our Genes Could Talk: Reconstructing human population history with genetic and linguistic data. Presented at – Molecular Biology and Evolution Conference, Auckland, NZ. June 19th-23rd, 2005.

Atkinson, Q. D. and Gray, R. D. (2005), Language trees – What difference does an ancestor make? Presented at NZIMA Phylogenetics meeting, Whitianga05, New Zealand.

Poster: Atkinson, Q. D. and Gray R. D. (2005), How old is the Indo-European language family – A biological solution to a linguistic problem. Presented at – NZBio Conference, Auckland, NZ. March 14th-15th, 2005.

Atkinson, Q. D. and Gray, R. D. (2004). How old is the Indo-European language family? Illumination or more moths to the flame? Presented at – Phylogenetic methods and the prehistory of languages, MacDonald Institute, Cambridge, UK.

Poster: Atkinson, Q. D. and Gray R. D. (2004), How old is the Indo-European language family? – A biological solution to a linguistic problem. Presented at – Evolution of Language: Fifth International Conference, 2004, Max Planck Institute, Leipzig, Germany.

Atkinson, Q. D. and Gray, R. D. (2004), How old is the Indo-European language family – A biological solution to a linguistic problem. Presented at NZIMA Phylogenetics meeting, DOOM04, New Zealand.