Dr. Matthew Gervias is an affiliate postdoctoral research fellow collaborating with Dr. Jessica Tracy on pre-registered online experiments investigating the impact of power on interpersonal attitudes such as contempt and respect. He has held postdoctoral positions at the SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind (UCSB), the Center for Human Evolutionary Studies (Rutgers University), and the Department of Psychology at UBC. Currently he is lecturing in the Department of Psychology at Simon Fraser University, where he teaches Cultural Psychology and the Social Psychology of Emotions.
Dr. Gervais' research interests lay at the intersection of psychology, anthropology, and the evolutionary sciences, especially questions about the psychological systems that make possible uniquely-human sociality and culture. His research focuses on the structure and functions of affect at the individual, interpersonal, and community levels. This includes developing theories of emotion form and function grounded in evolutionary and cultural considerations, conducting long-term, mixed-methods fieldwork in indigenous iTaukei villages in Fiji, and running lab- and computer-based experiments that get at psychological mechanisms and individual differences. His field and lab research projects investigate complementary time scales and levels of analysis yet converge on the psychological processes that regulate the formation and maintenance of social relationships. Gervais' theoretical work develops psychological models that scale out to social relationship and social network dynamics, helping to illuminate the reciprocal structuring of emotions and society.
Manson, J.H., Gervais, M.M., & Bryant, G.A. (2018). General trust impedes perception of self-reported primary psychopathy in thin slices of social interaction. PLoS ONE 13(5): e0196729. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0196729.
Gervais, M.M. & Fessler, D.M.T. (2017). On the deep structure of social affect: Attitudes, emotions, sentiments, and the case of “contempt.” Target Article, Behavioral and Brain Sciences 40. DOI: 10.1017/S0140525X16000352.
Gervais, M.M. & Fessler, D.M.T. (2017). Seeing the elephant: Parsimony, functionalism, and the emergent design of contempt and other sentiments. Author’s Response to Commentaries, Behavioral and Brain Sciences 40. DOI: 10.1017/S0140525X17001236.
Gervais, M.M. (2017). RICH economic games for networked relationships and communities: Development and preliminary validation in Yasawa, Fiji. Field Methods 29(2), 113-129. DOI: 10.1177/1525822X16643709.
Fessler, D.M.T, Holbrook, C., Kanovsky, M., Barrett, H.C., Bolyanatz, A.H., Gervais, M.M., Gurven, M., Henrich, J., Kushnick, G., Pisor, A.C., Stich, S., von Rueden, C., & Laurence, S. (2016). Moral parochialism misunderstood: A reply to Piazza & Sousa. Proceedings of the Royal Society – Biology 283(1823). DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.2628.
Fessler, D.M.T, Barrett, H.C., Kanovsky, M., Stich, S., Holbrook, C., Henrich, J., Bolyanatz, A.H., Gervais, M.M., Gurven, M., Kushnick, G., Pisor, A.C., von Rueden, C., & Laurence, S. (2015). Moral parochialism and contextual contingency across seven disparate societies. Proceedings of the Royal Society – Biology 282(1813). DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.0907.
Gervais, M.M. (2014). Evolution after mirror neurons: Tapping the shared manifold through secondary adaptation. Commentary on Cook, R., Bird, G., Catmur, C., Press, C., & Heyes, C. (2014). Mirror neurons: From origin to function. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37, 177-241.
Manson, J.H., Gervais, M.M., Fessler, D.M.T., & Kline, M.A. (2014). Subclinical primary psychopathy, but not physical formidability or attractiveness, predicts conversational dominance in a zero-acquaintance situation. PLoS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0113135.
Fessler, D.M.T., Holbrook, C., & Gervais, M.M. (2014). Men’s physical strength moderates conceptualizations of prospective foes in two disparate human societies. Human Nature 25, 393-409. DOI: 10.1007/s12110-014-9205-4.
Fessler, D.M.T., Tiokhin, L.B., Holbrook, C., Gervais, M.M., & Snyder, J.K. (2014). Foundations of the Crazy Bastard hypothesis: Nonviolent risk-taking enhances conceptualized formidability. Evolution and Human Behavior 35, 26-33. DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2013.09.003.
Gervais, M.M., Kline, M., Ludmer, M., George, R., & Manson, J. (2013). The strategy of psychopathy: Primary psychopathic traits predict defection on low-value relationships. Proceedings of the Royal Society – Biology 280(1757). DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2012.2773.
Manson, J.H., Gervais, M.M., & Kline, M. (2013). Defectors cannot be detected from “small talk” with strangers. PLoS ONE 8, e82531. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082531.
Manson, J.H., Bryant, G.A., Gervais, M.M., & Kline, M. (2013). Convergence of speech rate in conversation predicts cooperation. Evolution and Human Behavior 34, 419-426. DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2013.08.001.
Holbrook, C., Fessler, D.M.T. & Gervais, M.M. (2012). Revenge without redundancy: Functional outcomes do not require discrete adaptations for vengeance or forgiveness. Commentary on McCullough, M.E., Kurzban, R. & Tabak, B.A. (2012). Cognitive systems for revenge and forgiveness. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. DOI: 10.1017/S0140525X11002160.
Fessler, D.M.T. & Gervais, M.M. (2010). From whence the captains of our lives: Ultimate and phylogenetic perspectives on emotions in humans and other primates. In: P. Kappeler & J. Silk (Eds.), Mind the Gap: The Origins of Human Universals (pp 261-282). Springer: Heidelberg. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-02725-3.
Gervais, M.M. & Wilson, D.S. (2005). The evolution and functions of laughter and humor: A synthetic approach. Quarterly Review of Biology 80, 395-430. DOI: 10.1086/498281.
- Best Paper by a New Investigator, Evolutionary Anthropology Society (2014)
- NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (2011)
- NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (2006)