Dominik Deffner

Postdoctoral Researcher

Behavioral Science

MPI Berlin




Photo: SCIoI

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Dominik Deffner

Dominik Deffner

Photo: SCIoI

Dominik is an evolutionary and computational behavioral scientist with a background in Psychology and Anthropology. His research broadly focuses on the individual-level learning processes and population-level social dynamics underlying human collective intelligence and adaptation. He mostly uses behavioral group experiments, computational and statistical modeling as well as formal mathematical theory. After a Master’s at the University of St. Andrews and a PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, he now studies how human (and robotic) groups collectively balance individual and social information use (Project 34).


Dominik Deffner is member of Project 34.

Deffner, D., & McElreath, R. (2022). When does selection favor learning from the old? Social learning in age-structured populations. Plos One.
Mezey, D., Deffner, D., Kurvers, R. H., & Romanczuk, P. (2024). Visual social information use in collective foraging. PLoS Computational Biology, 20, 1–24.
Breen, A., & Deffner, D. (2024). Risk-sensitive learning is a winning strategy for leading an urban invasion. Elife.
Breen, A., & Deffner, D. (2023). Leading an urban invasion: risk-sensitive learning is a winning strategy. BioRxiv.
Deffner, D., Kandler, A., & Fogarty, L. (2022). Effective population size for culturally evolving traits. Plos Computational Biology.
Deffner, D., Mezey, D., Kahl, B., Schakowski, A., Romanczuk, P., Wu, C. M., & Kurvers, R. (2024). Collective incentives reduce over-exploitation of social information in unconstrained human groups. Nature Communications.
Tump, A., Deffner, D., Pleskac, T., Romanczuk, P., & Kurvers, R. (2023). A cognitive computational approach to social and collective decision-making. OSF.


An overview of our scientific work

See our Research Projects