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How is Human Social Cognition Special?

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  • UserDr Lasana Harris (UCL)
  • ClockWednesday 21 October 2020, 16:00-17:00
  • Housevia zoom .

If you have a question about this talk, please contact David Young.

Humans cannot claim to be the only social animal. But is there something special about human social cognition? Here I argue that it distinguishes itself by its unique flexibility: In scope, as it can be extended beyond fellow living humans and withheld from them; in content, as it is revised over time, and in certainty; in process, as it follows Bayesian inferences based on probability. Further, I posit that both the hyper-sociality of humans and some of its distinctive anthropological manifestations derive from this flexibility. This theoretical approach provides an alternative to content-based accounts of superior and distinctive human social cognition, and challenges the static ‘social-wiring’ hypothesis. Here, I present social neuroscience data consistent with this alternative hypothesis.

Dr Harris will discuss how this perspective can inform our understanding of racial prejudice in society and in research.

Dr Lasana Harris is a Senior Lecturer in Experimental Psychology at University College London.

This talk is co-hosted with the Zangwill Club.

Zoom link to follow

This talk is part of the Social Psychology Seminar Series (SPSS) series.

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