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People Dr Michael Buhrmester

Oxford Martin Fellow, Oxford Martin Programme on Natural Governance

Michael Buhrmester

Post-doctoral fellow, Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology

Michael Buhrmester is a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at Oxford. He is a social and personality psychologist by training and received his PhD from UT Austin in 2013. His research focuses on intra- and inter-group dynamics, especially the psychological mechanisms underlying conflict and prosociality.

Dr Buhrmester has published widely on the nature, causes, and consequences of “identity fusion” – a visceral sense of oneness with a group. His work shows that individuals strongly fused to an ingroup, such as one’s combat unit, nation, religion, etc., are uniquely willing to go beyond the call of duty to engage in altruistic acts for the ingroup. Dr Buhrmester is currently conducting a longitudinal study of donors to Oxford’s WildCRU conservation unit in an effort to discover what motivates supercooperators in the wildlife conservation domain.