We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Email and Telephone Directory

Staff Profile

Dr Jeremy Kendal

Personal web page

Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology
Director of Research, Department of Anthropology
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41630

(email at

Research Interests

My research concerns cultural transmission and population dynamics. Most of my research uses quantitative methods, including behavioural experiments, computer simulation, statistical analyses and mathematical modelling. Here are some of my ongoing or recent projects:

Cross-cultural patterns:

 Cultural transmission processes:

Health and disease:

  • Spread of addictive behaviours including drinking (with Caroline Walters and Brian Straughan), gambling (with Adam Flitton) and self-harm (with Alex Newman).
  • Norms of antibiotic use and bacterial strain evolution (with Mark Tanaka).

PhD Opportunities

I welcome proposals for PhD projects in the research areas highlighted above. 

Also, I'm searching for an applied statistician, trained in Bayesian Computation and Approximate Bayesian Computation for a new project: the PhD student would examine the cultural evolution of tool manufacture (chaine operatoire) by hominins across the palaeolithic. This is a project in collaboration with Mina Weinstein-Evron and her lab, University of Haifa.

Proposals will be developed during Autumn/Fall of 2017 for Durham studentship competitions.


I teach modules relating to behaviour, evolution and statistics.


I recommend the lively, high quality conferences and workshops run by the European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association (EHBEA). 

A group of us organised the 2012 EHBEA conference in Durham: we hope a good time was had by all!


BSc (Hons) in Biology, University of Nottingham (1997)

MSc in Biological Computation, University of York (1998).

PhD entitled Social Learning: Mechanisms, Functions and Evolutionary Consequences (2003), Sub-Dept. of Animal Behaviour, Dept. of Zoology, University of Cambridge, supervised by Kevin Laland.

Postdoc, Feldman lab, Stanford University (2003-5), developing mathematical models of cultural evolution in humans.

Postdoc, Laland Lab, University of St. Andrews (2005-7), using behaviour experiments and mathematical models to investigate the evolution of social learning strategies.

RCUK Research Fellowship, Durham University (2007-12).

Lecturer (2012-14) then Senior Lecturer (2014-).

Research Groups

Department of Anthropology

Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing

Research Interests

  • Social transmission and population dynamics


Chapter in book

  • Kendal, Jeremy (2017). Foreword. In The Evolution of Human Wisdom. Deane-Drummond, Celia & Fuentes, Agustín Lanham: Lexington Books. vii.
  • Kendal, J.R. & Walters, C. (2015). Cultural Evolution, Gene–Culture Coevolution, and Human Health: an Introduction to Modelling Approaches. In Tipping Points: Modelling Social Problems and Health. Bissell, J., Caiado, C., Curtis, S., Goldstein, M. & Straughan, B. Wiley. 146-167.
  • Kendal, J.R. (2015). Gene-Culture Coevolution. In International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. Wright, J.D. Oxford: Elsevier. 9: 813-818.
  • Kendal, J.R. (2013). Gene-culture Coevolution. In Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology: An Encyclopedia. McGee, J. & Warms, R. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications. 7: 316-319.
  • Kendal, J.R. (2011). Interactions between cognition and culture. In Evolutionary Psychology: a critical introduction. Swami, V. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. 311-342.
  • Laland, K.N., Kendal, J.R. & Kendal, R.L. (2009). Animal culture: problems and solutions. In The Question of Animal Culture. Laland, K.N. & Galef, B.G. Jr. Harvard: Harvard University Press.
  • Laland, K.N. & Kendal, J.R. (2003). What the models say about animal social learning. In The Biology of Traditions. Fragaszy, D.M. & Perry, S. Chicago University Press. 33-55.

Journal Article

  • Acerbi, A., Kendal, J. & Tehrani, J.J. (2017). Cultural complexity and demography: The case of folktales. Evolution and Human Behavior 38(4): 474-480.
  • Rudman, H., Bailey-Ross, C., Kendal, J., Mursic, Z., Lloyd, A., Ross, B. & Kendal, R.L. (2017). Multidisciplinary exhibit design in a Science Centre: a participatory action research approach. Educational Action Research
  • Vale, Gillian, Flynn, Emma G., Kendal Jeremy R., Rawlings, Bruce, Hopper Lydia M., Schapiro Steven J., Lambeth Susan P. & Kendal Rachel L. (2017). Testing differential use of payoff-biased social learning strategies in children and chimpanzees. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 284(1868): 20171751.
  • Kendal, R.L., Kendal, J.R., Mursic, Z., Bailey-Ross, C., Rudman, H., Lloyd, A. & Ross, B. (2016). Designing for creativity and innovation in informal science learning. Informal Learning Review (137): 20-24.
  • Offord, M., Gill, R. & Kendal, J.R. (2016). Leadership between decks: a synthesis and development of engagement and resistance theories of leadership based on evidence from practice in Royal Navy warships. Leadership & Organization Development Journal 37(2): 289-304.
  • Skrebyte, A., Garnett, P. & Kendal, J.R. (2016). Temporal Relationships Between Individualism–Collectivism and the Economy in Soviet Russia: A Word Frequency Analysis Using the Google Ngram Corpus. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 47(9): 1217-1235.
  • Attwell, L., Kovarovic, K. & Kendal, J.R. (2015). Fire in the Plio-Pleistocene: The functions of hominin fire use, and the mechanistic, developmental and evolutionary consequences. Journal of Anthropological Sciences 93: 1-20.
  • Walters, C.E. & Kendal, J.R. (2013). An SIS model for cultural trait transmission with conformity bias. Theoretical Population Biology 90: 56-63.
  • Flynn, E.G., Laland, K.N., Kendal, R.L. & Kendal, J.R. (2013). Developmental niche construction. Developmental Science 16(2): 296-313.
  • Walters, C.E., Straughan, B. & Kendal, J.R. (2013). Modelling alcohol problems: Total recovery. Ricerche di Matematica 62(1): 33-53.
  • Kendal, J.R. (2012). Comment concerning cumulative cultural evolution, on M. O'Brien and K.N. Laland 'Genes, culture and agriculture: an example of human niche construction'. Current Anthropology 53(4): 434-470.
  • Kendal, J.R. (2011). Cultural niche construction and human learning environments: investigating socio-cultural perspectives. Biological Theory 6(3): 241-250.
  • Setchell, J.M., Kendal, J.R. & Tyniec, P. (2011). Do non-human primates synchronise their menstrual cycles? A test in mandrills. Psychoneuroendocrinology 36(1): 51-59.
  • Kendal, J.R., Tehrani, J.J. & Odling-Smee, J. (2011). Human Niche Construction in Interdisciplinary Focus. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. Biological Sciences 366(1566): 785-792.
  • Kendal, R.L., Custance, D., Kendal, J.R., Vale, G., Stoinski, T., Rakotomalala, N.I. & Rasaminanana, H. (2010). Evidence for social learning in wild lemurs (Lemur catta). Learning & Behavior 38(3): 220-234.
  • Pike, T.W., Kendal, J.R., Rendell, L.E. & Laland, K.N. (2010). Learning by proportional observation in a species of fish. Behavioral Ecology 21: 570-575.
  • Hoppitt, W.J.E., Kandler, A., Kendal J.R. & Laland K.N. (2010). The effect of task structure on diffusion dynamics: Implications for diffusion curve and network-based analyses. Learning and Behavior 38(3): 243-251.
  • Tanaka, M.M., Kendal, J.R. & Laland, K.N. (2009). From Traditional Medicine to Witchcraft: Why Medical Treatments Are Not Always Efficacious. PLoS ONE 4(4): e5192, 1-9.
  • Kendal, R.L., Kendal, J.R., Hoppitt, W. & Laland, K.N. (2009). Identifying Social Learning in Animal Populations: A New ‘Option-Bias’ Method. PLoS ONE 4(8): e6541.
  • Kendal, J.R., Rendell, L., Pike, T.W. & Laland, K.N. (2009). Nine-spined sticklebacks deploy a hill-climbing social learning strategy. Behavioral Ecology 20(2): 238-244.
  • Kendal, J.R., Giraldeau, L-A. & Laland, K.N. (2009). The evolution of social learning rules: Payoff-biased and frequency-dependent biased transmission. Journal of Theoretical Biology 260(2): 210-219.
  • Rendell, L., Hoppitt, W. & Kendal, J.R. (2008). Commentary: Is all learning innovation? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30(4): 421-422.
  • Laland, K.N., Odling-Smee, J., Feldman, M.W. & Kendal, J.R. (2008). Conceptual Barriers to Progress Within Evolutionary Biology. Foundations of Science
  • Stanley, E.L., Kendal, R.L., Kendal, J.R., Grounds, S. & Laland, K.N. (2008). Factors affecting the stability of foraging traditions in fishes. Animal Behaviour 75: 565-572.
  • Kendal, J.R. (2008). Modelling social learning in monkeys. Behavioral Analyst Today 9(1): 50-56.
  • Kendal, J.R., Kendal, R.L. & Laland, K.N. (2007). Erratum to Quantifying and modelling social learning processes in Monkey Populations. International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy 8(1).
  • Kendal, J.R., Kendal, R.L. & Laland, K.N. (2007). Quantifying and modeling social learning processes in monkey populations. International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy 7(2): 123-138.
  • Laland, K.N. Kendal, J.R. & Brown, G. (2007). The niche construction perspective: implications for human behaviour. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology 5(1-4): 51-66.
  • Kendal, J., Feldman, M.W. & Aoki, K. (2006). Cultural coevolution of norm adoption and enforcement when punishers are rewarded or non-punishers are punished. Theoretical Population Biology 70(1): 10-25.
  • Borenstein, E., Kendal, J. & Feldman, M. (2006). Cultural Niche Construction in a metapopulation. Theoretical Population Biology 70(1): 92-104.
  • Kendal, J.R. (2006). Review of "Social Learning and Imitation": Volume 32(1), 2004, of Learning and Behavior. Interaction Studies 7: 273-288.
  • Day, R.L., Coe, R.L., Kendal, J.R. & Laland, K.N. (2003). Neophilia, innovation and social learning: A study of intergeneric differences in Callitrichid monkeys. Animal Behaviour 65: 559-571.
  • Reader, S.M. Kendal, J.R. & Laland, K.N. (2003). Social learning through local enhancement in wild guppy fish in Trinidad. Animal Behaviour 66: 729-739.
  • Swaney, W. Kendal, J.R. , Capon, H. Brown, C. & Laland, K.N. (2001). Familiarity facilitates social learning of foraging behaviour in the guppy. Animal Behaviour 62: 591-598.
  • Day, R.L., Kendal, J.R. & Laland, K.N. (2001). Validating cultural transmission in Cetaceans. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24(2): 330-331.
  • Kendal, J.R. & Laland, K.N. (2000). Mathematical models for memetics. Journal of Memetics 4: 0.


  • Kendal, J.R., Tehrani, J.J. & Kendal, R.L. (2009). The Evolution of Human Behaviour. Learning and Skills Network.

Working Paper

  • Kendal, J.R., Ihara, Y. & Feldman, M.W. (2005). Cultural niche construction with application to fertility control: a model of education and social transmission of contraceptive use. Morrison Institute Working Papers 102, 41.

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Evolution: Social Learning - examining how animals and humans learn from one another.
  • Evolution: niche construction - examining the evolutionary consequences of organisms modifying their environment
  • Evolution: gene-culture coevolution - examining the interaction between the evolution of genetic traits and cultural traits.
  • Evolution: Cultural evolution - examining the spread of cultural traits.