Cognition, Collectives, and Human Culture

AbstractCognitive capacities such as learning, reasoning, and decision-making are often studied in tasks where a single participant acts in isolation. Yet humans don't learn, reason, and make decisions in a vacuum. Human cognition is distinctively social: Much of what we do influences---and is influenced by---other people. The goal of this workshop is to bring together diverse perspectives on the interplay between human cognition and the dynamic, social environments we inhabit. Theme 1 lays out the cognitive tools that equip individuals to thrive in social environments, including specialized mechanisms for teaching and learning from others. Theme 2 examines how the social environment is itself shaped by the dynamic interactions between multiple individuals, producing emergent behaviors at the level of the collective. Finally, Theme 3 explores how human cognition responds to the demands of particular social environments, including how cultural variability in social cognition might emerge across development.

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