I'm a PhD student in social psychology at the University of Oxford. I did my undergrad in cognitive science at UCLA. After graduation, I moved to Silicon Valley to work at a venture-backed startup. It took me six week to discover that I have no interest in tech, at which point I quit and began plotting my way back to academia. I bounced around for a bit, including an internship at lab in Belgium, before beginning as a research assistant in the department of psychology at Harvard. This experience inspired new crises of faith, though I did manage to last two full years. Having been rejected from my first two rounds of applications to grad school, I spent six months serving croissants and other viennoiseries at a café in Boston while giving the grad school thing one last go. Now I'm here in England. Interested to see what happens next.

Cody Kommers


This is the best way to stay up to date with my writing. Arriving weekly.

Or email me directly: cody.kommers.writing@gmail.com.



~~~ 2021 ~~~

The Self-Help of T.S. Eliot in The New Kommers

The Long 2020 — in Review in The New Kommers

Actually Against Academia

~~~ 2020 ~~~

On Building Up and Tearing Down

On Coming Back from Covid

On Composers and Arrangers

As with a Harvest in Massachusetts Review [and subsequent Interview]

Mice on Acid in Nautilus

We are All Ancient Mapmakers in Nautilus

~~~ 2019 ~~~

How Wrong Should You Be? in Scientific American

How to Self-Motivate During Your PhD

The Bimodal Centrist in Areo

Why UBI Ought to Appeal to Conservatives in Quillette

~~~ 2018 ~~~

Why Republicans Listen to Country Music and Democrats Don't in Psych Today

Why Interesting People Don't Go to Harvard in Psych Today

Why Good Philosophers are Out of Touch with Reality in Psych Today 

   [response from Nassim Nicholas Taleb, aforementioned philosopher]

The Ruth Bader Ginsburg Theory of Pronoun Usage in Psych Today

The Off-Policy Theory of Happiness in Psych Today


The Cognitive Revolution podcast

My show about the personal side of the intellectual journey.


Available on iTunes, Spotify, etc.


~~~ 2021 ~~~

#62: Ted Slingerland on How to Drink Well

#61: Scott Atran on The Risks We're Willing to Take

#60: Wade Davis on Becoming an Entrepreneur of Knowledge

#59: Christopher Bail on How Social Media Shapes our Identity

#58: Jeff Hawkins on Tackling the Big Problems


#57: Nancy Kanwisher on Finding Your Niche

#56: Louis Menand on How to Write about Everything

#55: Brian Christian on AI as a Human Problem (Pt 1)

#54: Pedro Domingos on Making the Textbook Smaller

#53: Liz Neeley on the Foundations of Good Stories

#52: Benjamin Moser on the Performance of Everyday Life

#51: Damon Centola on How Anomalies Drive Scientific Progress

#50: Ethan Kross on Harnessing the Voice in Your Head

#49: Joseph Henrich on What History Can Tell Us About Psychology

#48: Sir Simon Baron-Cohen on Putting Together the Big Picture

#47: William Labov on What People Actually Say

#46: Nicholas Christakis on Mastering Skills

#45: Tanya Luhrmann on Writing about Culture, Belief, & Life

#44: Anil Seth on Interdisciplinarity in Practice

#43: Denise Sekaquaptewa on How to Make Universities Work for Everyone

#42: Richard Nisbett on Telling More Than He Can Know

~~~ 2020 ~~~

#41: Michael McCullough on Why We Give a Damn

#40 Howard Gardner on the Synthesizing Mind

#39: Yael Niv on the Moral Obligations of Scientists

#38: Barry Wellman on the Academic Social Network

#37: Susan Goldin-Meadow on Being a World-class Listener

#36: Richard Shweder on How to Observe the World

#35: Annie Duke on Betting on Your Best Self

#34: Don Norman

#33: Mahzarin Banaji

#32: Sade Abiodun

#31: Sir Nigel Shadbolt

#30: Daniel Everett on Being Fully Immersed

#29: Maria Konnikova on Doing the Work

#28: Steven Pinker on Career Uncertainty

#27: Mark Granovetter on Why There are Revolutions

#26: Alan Baddeley on Proceeding Logically

#25: Michèle Lamont on Building Big Ideas

#24: Michael Inzlicht on the Optimal Number of Beers per Psychologist

#23: Brad Love on Lifelong Exploration

#22: Rob Henderson on the Search for Stability

#21: Olga Khazan on the Power of Outsiders

#20: Julia Shaw on Who We Are and Why It Matters

#19: Christof Koch on Incandescent Intellectualism

#18: Michael Tomasello on Writing for Young People

#17: Sander van der Linden on Intrinsic Motivation

#16: Heather Berlin on Bringing Science to the Masses

#15: Nicola Clayton on Enthusiastic Serendipity

#14: Weiji Ma on Dealing with Imposter Syndrome

#13: David Pizarro on How to Find Collaborators

#12: Dorsa Amir on Ultimate versus Proximate Goals

#11: Nicholas Epley on Designing a Good Life

#10: David DeSteno on Being Optimally Interdisciplinary

~~~ 2019 ~~~

#9: Linda B. Smith on Making the Best Local Decisions

#8: Cory Clark on Getting Traction

#7: Bradley Voytek on Being a Fuck-up with Potential

#6: Axel Cleeremans on Getting in on the Ground Floor

#5: Susan Fiske on the Role of Psychology in Society

#4: Scott Barry Kaufman on Planning with Precision and Purpose

#3: Chantel Prat on Unexpected Advantages

#2: Paul Bloom on Picking the Perfect Title


#1: Art Markman on Getting Your Work Out There


The Notes from the Field podcast

My show about travel. 


Available on iTunes, Spotify, etc.

~~~ Season 1 ~~~

Introduction: "Dear Haily"

Chapter 1: "En Route in Warsaw"

Chapter 2: "World Cup in Russia, Pt 1"

Chapter 3: "World Cup in Russia, Pt 2"

Chapter 4: "Istanbul: The Permanent Market"

Chapter 5: "A Tourist in Cheater Africa"

Chapter 6: "A Tourist in Real Africa"

Chapter 7: "The Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho"

Chapter 8: "Hong Kong: The Feeling of Returning"

Chapter 9: "Christmas in Myanmar, Pt 1"

Chapter 10: "Christmas in Myanmar, Pt 2"



My current interests have to do with intergroup theory of mind. How do we make sense of the behavior of people who are different than ourselves? When are we willing to put in effort to understand the perspectives of an out-group member?

~~~ Oxford ~~~

Kommers, C. (2020). The Intuitive Anthropologist: Why “Intuitive Psychology” Falls Short for Making Sense of Those Who Are Different. PsyArXiv.


~~~ Harvard ~~~


Gershman, S. J., Zhou, J., & Kommers, C. (2017). Imaginative reinforcement learning: Computational principles and neural mechanisms. Journal of cognitive neuroscience, 29(12), 2103-2113.

~~~ UCLA ~~~

Kommers, C. (2015). Computational Models of Jazz Improvisation Inspired by Language. Thesis.

Kommers, C., Ustun, V., Demski, A., & Rosenbloom, P. S. (2015). Hierarchical Reasoning with Distributed Vector Representations. In Proceedings of Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.