What is Cognitive Science

"Mind-reading Monkeys?: The Evolution of our Theory of Mind Capacities"

Laurie Santos

Thursday, September 22, 2005, 12:00pm - 07:00pm

Yale University, Dept. of Psychology

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One of the hallmarks of human psychology is our species' ability to reason about the minds of other individuals, a capacity commonly referred to as a theory of mind (ToM).  Although developmental studies have revealed much about ontogeny of our ToM abilities, to date, there is still much controversy concerning the evolution of these capacities and their emergence in non-human primates.  I will present the results of several studies exploring what rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) know about the minds of human competitors in the absence of training. These new findings suggest that monkeys may understand more about the minds of others than previously thought.  Our results demonstrate that monkeys discriminate agents from non-agents, understand how barriers block visual access, and recognize what competitors can and cannot see,

hear, and know. These findings will be discussed in light of related work in developmental psychology and cognitive neuroscience.

Laurie Santos


"What is Cognitive Science?"

This lunchtime talks series is designed to introduce the University community to issues in Cognitive Science. Cognitive Science is one the the few fields where modern developments in computer science and artificial intelligence promise to shed light on classical problems in psychology and the philosophy of the mind. Ancient questions of how we see the world, understand language, and reason, and questions such as 'how a material system can know about the outside world', are being explored with the powerful new conceptual prosthetics of computer modeling.

The talks in this lunchtime lecture series are every Thursday during the Fall semester from ** 12:00-1:00 ** in the Psychology Building, Room 101 on  Busch Campus.

Note: Talks are also announced by email (with reminders sent the day of the talk) to people who have requested to be placed on our announce list. If you would like to be added to our announce list, please email the Business Office (business_manager@ruccs.rutgers.edu).