Welcome from Lab Director, Prof. Patricia Greenfield

Our research explores how values, behavior and cognition are shaped by social change. Our current studies in Mexico, China, and Israel investigate human development within a changing social ecology that include variables such as urbanization, education and commercialization.

For information on our studies of the implications of technology for human development, please go to cdmc.ucla.edu. For information on our work on the implications of social change for cognitive development, learning, and textile design in a Maya community in Chiapas, Mexico, please go to weaving-generations.psych.ucla.edu

For earlier research on evolution and primate studies, language acquisition, cultural studies, grammars of action, and neuroscience, please go to the publication page.

Ethiopian immigrants to Israel: The persistence and transformation of African values and practices in art and life

This article was published in December 2019 in Psychology in Africa.

Read the article >>


My primary affiliation in the Psychology Department is with the Interdisciplinary Area; my secondary affiliation is with Developmental Psychology. Prospective graduate students who would like to work with me should apply to the Developmental Psychology Ph.D. program. Two areas where I hope to work with an incoming graduate student are:

  1. Cross-cultural value conflict and peer relations in the transition to college. I would like to continue exploring the experience of UCLA students in cross-cultural roommate situations. Here is the foundational research for this project carried out in our lab; it explores the perspective of first-generation Latinx students at UCLA.https://greenfieldlab.psych.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/168/2019/01/68-Burgos-Cienfuegos-Vasquez-Salgado-Gracia-Ruedas-Greenfield-HJBS2015.pdf

A second research step in this project would be the development of an intervention for incoming Freshmen to improve cross-cultural roommate relations.

  1. Applying my theory of social change, cultural evolution, and human development to test empirical predictions about the effects of the global coronavirus pandemic on behavior, values, and relationships. We have three papers on this topic under review. As soon as one is published, I will post it here. Here are links to three articles that develop the foundational theory:
    1. Studying social change, culture, and human development: A theoretical framework and methodological guidelines, 2017
    2. Social change, cultural evolution, and human development, 2016
    3. Linking Social Change and Developmental Change: Shifting Pathways of Human Development,2009

Greenfield receives

Madsen Marble Pull Exercise

Greenfield demonstrating the Madsen marble pull. A research study in collaboration with Dr. Camilo Garcia and students at Veracruz University, Mexico, used this apparatus to document an historical reduction in Mexican children’s cooperative behavior over many decades.


The decline of cooperation, the rise of competition: developmental effects of long-term social change in Mexico