Research Fellow, Nanyang Techological University




given name first syllable rhymes with queue

You can't make cheesecakes out of snow —Yiddish proverb

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How do population-level cultural dynamics and individual psychology mutually shape each other? And what does this cyclic interaction reveal about human evolution and development? I use computational modeling, data science, behavioral experiments, and theoretical analysis to study these problems.


Research interests

        Cultural evolution, cognitive plasticity, developmental psychobiology

Update: I'm writing for a popular audience at Psychology Today.
The mind lives in culture


2021                       PhD, Psychological and Behavioural Science

                                London School of Economics and Political Science

                                Thesis title: Cultural evolutionary production of human psychobiological 

                                                     variation and function

2017                       MA, Psychology (Behavioral and Evolutionary Neuroscience)

                                Cornell University, US

2013                       BSc with Greatest Honors, Psychology

                                University of Lethbridge, Canada

2006                       Technical Diploma in Spatial Design

                                Kuwasawa Design School, Japan

Research positions

2021–                     Research Fellow

                                NTU–Cambridge Centre for Lifelong Learning and Individualised  

                                Cognition (CLIC),

                                Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

2017                       Research Programmer

                           Section of Brain Function Information,

                                National Institute for Physiological Sciences, Japan

Other employment

2003–2013            Freelance Japanese–English translator/editor for art and design     

                                publications (list of translated works below)

2006–2007             Junior interior & furniture designer

                                Design Office IMA

                                Tokyo, Japan


Uchiyama R, Spicer R, & Muthukrishna M. (in press). Cultural evolution of genetic heritability. Behavioral and Brain Sciences (Target Article) [PDF] [journal] [press release]

Uchiyama R & Muthukrishna M. (in press). Cultural evolutionary neuroscience. In J Chiao, S Li, B Turner, SY Lee-Tauler, B Pringle (Eds.), Handbook of Cultural Neuroscience and Global Mental Health. Oxford University Press. [PsyArXiv]

Finlay BL & Uchiyama R. (2020). The timing of brain maturation, early experience and the human social niche. In J. Kaas (Ed.), Evolutionary Neuroscience, Second Edition, 815-843. San Diego: Elsevier Academic Press. [PDF]

Uchiyama R & Muthukrishna M. (2019). Archetypes are a poor primitive for a theory of mental representations. Psychological Inquiry, 30. 87–92. [PDF]

Smolla M, Invernizzi E, Bazhydai M, Casoli M, Deffner D, Faria GS, Jones N, Kanwal J, Staehler AM, Uchiyama R. (2018). Second annual workshop of the Association of Early-Career Social Learning Researchers in St Andrews, Scotland. Evolutionary Anthropology, 27, 184-187. [PDF]

Finlay BL & Uchiyama R. (2015). Developmental mechanisms channeling cortical evolution. Trends in Neurosciences, 38, 69–76. [PDF]


Pham TQ, Yoshimoto T, Niwa H, Takahashi H, Uchiyama R, Matsui T, Anderson AK, Sadato N, & Chikazoe J. (under review). Vision-to-value transformation of art in artificial neural networks and human neural networks.

Uchiyama R, Spicer R, & Muthukrishna M. (under review). Cultural variance reduces the heritability of psychological, behavioral, and psychiatric traits.

Conference presentations

2019        Poster— Uchiyama R & Muthukrishna M. "The cultural evolution of cultural   

                   learning". Early-career Social Learning Researchers workshop (Lepizig, Germany)

2018          Talk— Uchiyama R & Muthukrishna M. "General intelligence as an emergent  

                   product of cultural complexity: Explaining the Flynn Effect".

                   Cultural Evolution Society (Tempe, AZ, USA)

2018          Poster— Uchiyama R & Muthukrishna M. "Testing the Cultural Brain  

                   Hypothesis using phylogenetic path analysis".

                   Early-career Social Learning Researchers workshop (St Andrews, Scotland, UK)

2017          Talk— Uchiyama R & Muthukrishna M. "Testing the cultural brain hypothesis".  

                   Cultural Evolution Society inaugural conference (Jena, Germany)

2016          Poster— Uchiyama R & Edelman S. "Narrative-mediated transmission of  

                   causal knowledge".

                   Emergent Meaning: Neural, Social, & Computational Perspectives (Bethlehem, PA),                    a workshop associated with Cognitive Science Society (Philadelphia, PA, US)

2015          Poster— Uchiyama R & Finlay BL. "Situating social learning in an evolutionarily 

                   conserved program of brain development".

                   Mechanisms of Learning in Social Contexts, a workshop at ICDL-EPIROB   

                   (Providence, RI, US)


2018–2020         LSE PBS PhD Committee member

                               Member of a PhD committee responsible for academic self-    

                               governance in the department of Psychological and Behavioural Science

2015                      Cognitive and evolutionary approaches to human culture

                               Lead organizer and panel moderator of a cross-disciplinary symposium   

                               (March 12, 2015, at Cornell University) – http://cogevo.weebly.com/

2014–2015            Collective Behavior Study Group, Cornell University

                               Co-founder and organizer of an inter-departmental graduate student     

                                journal club and speaker series – http://collectivebehavior.weebly.com/

Teaching and outreach

Course Design

Co-designed with another graduate student the full syllabus for HD 6400–Emergent Collective Behavior, offered by the Department of Human Development, Cornell University (Spring 2014)

Teaching Assistantships

London School of Economics—

MSc Social and Public Communication (Martin Bauer & Bradley Franks, 2018–2020), Foundations of Psychological Science (Michael Muthukrishna, 2018–2019)
• Cornell University—

Developmental Psychology (Michael Goldstein, 2014)

Computational Psychology (Shimon Edelman, 2015)

Introduction to Biopsychology (Tim Devoogd, 2015)

Psychology of Language (Morten Christiansen, 2016)

Human Perception (David Field, 2016)

Neuroanatomy instruction

Managed brain dissection wet labs and neuroanatomy tutorials for PSYCH4250–Cognitive Neuroscience (Barbara Finlay), Cornell University, 2014–2015

Neuroscience outreach

2014–2016, Assistant Curator for the Wilder Brain Collection, Cornell University

         Sample coverage [ media ] [ youtube ] (Oct 7, 2016)

Invited talks

2021                      Claremont Graduate University, seminar speaker for Prof. Robert
                               Kiltgaard's course "Cultural Competence"

2020                      盐 (Yan) Talk, Human Psychology Seminar Series
                               (online talk for an audience in the People’s Republic of China)

2019                      Meiji University, School of Interdisciplinary Mathematical Sciences, Joe   

                               Wakano Lab (Japan)

2019                      LSESU Behavioural Sciences Society Annual Conference (London)

Translated and co-translated publications (non-academic)


  • The Album, BNN Publishing, 2005

  • Japanese Motion Graphic Creators [映像作家100人], BNN Publishing, 2006

  • Design Tide: A Message From Tokyo, BNN Publishing, 2006

  • GAS BOOK 24: Hideki Inaba "~NEWLINE", Gas as Interface, 2006

  • Logo a Lot, BNN Publishing, 2007

  • Japanese Motion Graphic Creators 2008, BNN Publishing, 2008

  • Think Globally, Act Locally. Think Locally, Act Globally., Bueno! Books, Tokyo, 2008

  • Japanese Motion Graphic Creators 2009, BNN Publishing, 2009

  • Printed Matter in Fashion, BNN Publishing, 2009 

  • The Front Line of Fashion: 100 Japanese Fashion Brands, BNN Publishing, 2009

  • Japanese Motion Graphic Creators 2010, BNN Publishing, 2010

  • Japanese Motion Graphic Creators 2011, BNN Publishing, 2011

  • Japanese Motion Graphic Creators 2012, BNN Publishing, 2012

  • Graphic Fashion, BNN Publishing, 2012

  • Japanese Motion Graphic Creators 2013, BNN Publishing, 2013

  • Poster Graphics, BNN Publishing, 2013

Print Periodicals 

  • SIM, issue 3, Asukashinsha Publishing, 2003

  • Massage, issues 3 & 4, skratch.jp, 2004 

  • SAL magazine, issues 10–12 & 14, Daiichi Kosho, 2003-2005

Online Periodicals

  • salmagazine.org, issues 1–11, 2004-2005




Untitled fractal sculpture, based on the golden ratio

Constructed with heat-reflective glass, mirrors, and paint-coated steel

121 × 75 × 46 cm


Drawing Exhibition

Drawing Exhibition

"The basal Mediterranean sport" at Schildpatt Gallery, Sengawa, Tokyo, May 20 & 21, 2017

Drawing Exhibition

Drawing Exhibition

"The basal Mediterranean sport" at Schildpatt Gallery, Sengawa, Tokyo, May 20 & 21, 2017

Drawings, 2007 onward