Stephen Colarelli, Ph.D.
  • Position: I/O Faculty
  • Department: Psychology
  • Campus Address: Sloan Hall 235, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
  • Email:
  • Vitae: Curriculum Vitae


Stephen Colarelli was born in Denver and grew up in Arvada, Colorado. He received his B.A. from Northwestern University, where he studied political science and history. After college he served in the Peace Corps for two years in Senegal, West Africa. Upon returning from the Peace Corps, he received his M.A. in social and organizational psychology from the University of Chicago, and his Ph.D. in industrial/organizational (I/O) psychology from New York University. Professor Colarelli was a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Zambia and a visiting professor at the National University of Singapore and Hong Kong Baptist University.

Research Interests: 

Professor Colarelli's research is concerned with the question of how evolutionary theory and evolutionary psychology in particular can influence the ways we think about, conduct research on, and manage behavior in organizations. While evolutionary theory is the foundation of the life sciences, it has made few inroads into organizational psychology and management. His writing and research involve integrating these perspectives. He also conducts basic research in evolutionary psychology.

Professor Colarelli's work in I/O psychology focuses on: (1) mismatch between our evolved human nature and modern organizations, (2) understanding the use and non-use modern human resource technologies within the context of our evolved psychological adaptations; and (3) adapting human resource technologies so that they are more compatible with our evolved psychology.

Recent Research: 

Colarelli, S. M., McDonald, A., Christensen, M., & Honts, C.  (2017). A companion dog increases pro-social behavior in small groups. Anthrozoös,30, 77-89, DOI: 10.1080/08927936.2017.1270595.

An, M., Colarelli, S. M., & O'Brien, K., & Boyajian M. E. (2016). Why we need more nature at work: Effects of sunlight exposure and natural elements on employee well-being. PLOS ONE.

Colarelli, S. M., & Arvey, R. D. (Eds.). (2015). The Biological foundations of organizational behavior. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Colarelli, S. M. Human Nature, Cooperation, and Organizations. (2015). Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 8, 37-40.

Spranger, J.A., Colarelli, S. M., Dimotakis, N., Jacob, A., & Arvey, R. D. (2012). Effects of kin density within family-owned businesses. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 119, 151-162.

Colarelli, S. M., Roscoe, A., Monnot, M., Colarelli, S. M., & Ronan G. (2012). Administrative assumptions and some assumption violation effects in top-down selection. Applied Psychology: ​An International Review, 61, 498-512.