TAKAHASHI Nobuyuki Professor
Research Subject

Theoretical and behavioral studies on social exchange, the problem of social order, and fairness

Research Fields
Social psychology
Faculty - Division / Research Group / Laboratory
Division of Human Sciences / Research Group of Behavioral Science / Laboratory of Behavioral Science
Graduate School - Division / Department / Laboratory
Division of Human Sciences / Department of Behavioral Science / Laboratory of Behavioral Science
School - Course / Laboratory
Division of Humanities and Human Sciences / Course of Human Sciences / Laboratory of Behavioral Science

Office/Lab: E407
FAX: +81-11-706-3066
Email: ntakahas(at)let.hokudai.ac.jp
Replace “(at)” with “@” when sending email.

Foreign exchange students who want to be research students (including Japanese residents) should apply for the designated period in accordance with the “Research Student Application Guidelines”. Even if you send an email directly to the staff, there is no reply.
Related Links


Laboratory of Behavioral ScienceTAKAHASHI Nobuyuki Professor

Exchanges of money, services and affection:
Probing interrelations between individuals and society

The term “social exchanges” refers to the mutual exchanges of things that human society regards as resources, such as money, services and information, as well as exchanges of other things that humans regard as valuable, such as affection and respect.

Our modern society is unprecedented in human history in terms of shifting from small groups to large groups and from the unity of relatives and acquaintances to the company of complete strangers. Our information-intensive society creates personal relationships where people don’t communicate face to face, creating suspicion among those who lack the mental framework to deal with such relationships. Macro-level social phenomena ultimately derive from micro-level minds and behaviors, but there are no direct causal relationships between these two levels. Each individual thinks and makes decisions, and the aggregate behaviors are visible and effect society. But this effect is not a simple aggregation of individual thoughts and behaviors, as no individual makes decisions entirely independently from other individuals. An individual’s decision inevitably depends on the decisions of others, because for each individual, there are a number of agents who influence their decisions. Yet, at the same time, such agents and other people are influenced by individual choices. When such a mutual process of effect exists, social phenomena that people did not intend or expect can emerge. Unraveling the mutual construction of an individual’s mind and society is the goal of my research.

A book co-authored by Professor Takahashi and other professors at Hokkaido University
An example of successful exchanges excerpted from lesson slides

Instruction based on frequent face-to-face communication:
Cultivate students’ thinking skills and insight into society.

Graduate students who are currently under my supervision are exploring the issue of unfairness in in-groups: Can people interact beyond the framework of the group to which they belong? I always tell my students to visit me if they’re looking for advice. I’m willing to provide frequent face-to-face support.

In conducting research on social psychology, one must take a stance that values curiosity and imagination. Are the actions you’ve taken based on common sense, or not? The ability to think about questions rigorously, persistently and continuously helps foster insights into society. Why not immerse yourself in an environment where the students routinely communicate in English with postdoctoral researchers from overseas?


Modern society is currently facing various problems, mostly due to the discrepancy between what humans have acquired in the process of evolution and what modern society requires its members. So many characteristics of modern society, such as its drastically increased size, the tremendous amount of information circulating in society, and its advanced transportation technology, are all new to humans. Our psychological mechanisms that were once adaptive in the hunting-gathering society are no longer adaptive in modern society. On the other hand, we have not yet acquired psychological mechanisms adaptive in modern society. Nevertheless, the resolution of various social problems is urgent.

Therefore, we must find a way to manage a highly advanced industrial and information society. In order to achieve this goal, we need to investigate the interdependence between beliefs and behaviors at the individual level and institutions at the societal level.

Employing the above perspective, our lab is conducting research (such as how altruism could be adaptive and the adaptive advantage of having a sense of fairness) in close collaboration with faculty members and students. Regardless of the content of each person’s research, members in our department exchange ideas make critical comments with each other. It is the characteristic of our department regardless of the lab. Why not join us to start a new study that could contribute to creating a better new world?