Research interests

I am interested in understanding the processes involved in human cooperative decision-making. In particular, I apply theory and methods from economics, social psychology and evolutionary biology to investigate: (a) the relation between ingroup favoritism and reputation-based cooperation, (b) the predictive power of different psychological mechanisms (e.g. reciprocity, conformity) in promoting cooperation, and (c) cross-cultural differences in intergroup discrimination in trust and cooperation.

Selected publications

  • Romano, A., Balliet, D., Yamagishi, T., & Liu, J. H. (2018, online first). Reply to De Dreu: Shared partner nationality promotes ingroup favoritism in cooperation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. [ Link]
  • Romano, A., Balliet, D., Yamagishi, T., & Liu, J. H. (2017). Parochial Trust and Cooperation Across 17 Societies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 114(8), 12702-127707. [Link]
  • Romano, A. & Balliet, D. (2017). Reciprocity outperforms conformity to promote cooperation. Psychological Science, 28(10), 1490–1502 [Link]
  • Romano, A., Balliet, D., & Wu, J. (2017). Unbounded Indirect Reciprocity: Is Reputation-Based Cooperation Bounded by Group Membership? Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 71, 59-67. 
  • Romano A., Mosso, C.O., and Merlone U. (2016). The Role of Incomplete Information and Others’ Choice in Reducing Traffic: a Pilot Study. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 135. 
  • Romano A., Merlone U., Mosso C. & Spadaro G. (2016). On the role of group size in social dilemmas. Psicologia Sociale, 1-13.


  • Double Ph.D., VU Amsterdam, the Netherlands & University of Turin, Italy (January, 2018).
  • Master's degree in mind sciences summa cum laude from the University of Turin (2012-2014).
  • Bachelor degree in psychology cum laude from the University of Palermo (2010-2012).


  • Otto Hahn Medal for the year 2018 by the Max Planck Society for his work on human cooperation and parochial altruism across societies.
  • ASPO award for best dissertation in the Netherlands.
  • Faculty Junior Career Award, Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Best dissertation in social psychology award in Italy (for the year 2017-2018). The award is granted by the Italian Association of Psychology (AIP).
  • Best Presentation Award, 17th International Conference on Social Dilemmas (2017)
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