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David R.

David R. Samson is an associate professor of biological anthropology at the University of Toronto and director of the Sleep and Human Evolution Lab. An interdisciplinary scholar investigating major behavioral and physiological transitions in human evolution, he has worked with a range of primate species and studied sleep in different types of human societies. Samson’s research has been profiled by the BBC, Time, and The New York Times, among others. He lives in Mississauga, Ontario. 

Award History

2023 Winner

Balsillie Prize for Public Policy
for Our Tribal Future: How to Channel Our Foundational Human Instincts into a Force for Good

Jury Citation

In Our Tribal Future, David R. Samson does something remarkable: in sparkling prose and rich empirical detail, he provides a tour de force of how our tribal brains operate in our modern world. Things that were essential to our survival in the past now potentially imperil our future. This important contribution to our public policy toolkit explains why trust is declining across our society and why our public spaces increasingly feel hostile rather than welcoming. There is no one in public life — and no one interested in public life — who will not benefit from the deep and enduring implications of this book.