Mr Thanos Kyritsis

BSc, MSc

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Doctoral Candidate - Doctor of Philosophy


Thanos studied BSc Psychology (Distinction) at the University of Athens, while working as Research and Teaching Assistant of Prof Frosso Motti-Stefanidi. He then moved to University College London (UCL) to study MSc Human Evolution and Behaviour (Distinction), on a scholarship from the Onassis Foundation. His thesis included fieldwork on blond capuchin monkeys (Sapajus flavius) in Brazil and was supervised by Dr Andrea Migliano (UCL), Dr Lucio Vinicius (UCL) and Dr Renata Ferreira (Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte). In 2018 he arrived to the University of Auckland on a doctoral scholarship in order to take up a PhD Psychology supervised by Prof Quentin Atkinson. Thanos has a great interest in cultural studies and linguistics, speaking English, German, Japanese, and Greek, as well as knowing Ancient Greek, Latin, and sign language. 

Research | Current

Why do some nations experience political unrest when they do? Why are some nations more economically productive than others? Why do ideology and values vary between nations? And how does cultural ancestry shape contemporary social connections between nations?

Thanos addresses these questions through the scope of cultural evolution, the theory that cultures evolve over time similarly to biological species. In this framework, advanced statistical methods from evolutionary and computational biology are applied to questions from social sciences such as anthropology, economics, and linguistics. Through computational and network modelling, his project examines how cultural information spreads over global networks, and factors affecting cultural diffusion. This research aims at furthering our understanding of cross-cultural, socioeconomic and political differences on a global scale.


  • University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship
  • Onassis Foundation Scholarship for MSc studies
  • Valedictorian, University of Athens
  • Deutsche Schule Athen Scholarship for BSc studies

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Ruck, D. J., Matthews, L. J., Kyritsis, T., Atkinson, Q. D., & Bentley, R. A. (2020). The cultural foundations of modern democracies. Nature human behaviour, 4 (3), 265-269. 10.1038/s41562-019-0769-1
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Quentin Atkinson


Contact details

Primary office location

SCIENCE CENTRE 302 - Bldg 302
Level 3, Room 350
New Zealand

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