CNS 2020 | Keynote Address

"Origins of Human Cooperation"

Saturday, March 14, 2020, in the Grand Ballroom of the Sheraton Boston Hotel, OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.
Speaker: Michael Tomasello, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University and Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology


Humans are biologically adapted for cultural life in ways that other primates are not. Humans have unique motivations and cognitive skills for sharing emotions, experience, and collaborative goals (shared intentionality).  The motivations and skills involved first emerge in human ontogeny at around one year of age, as infants begin to participate with other persons in various kinds of collaborative and joint attentional activities, including linguistic communication. Our nearest primate relatives understand important aspects of intentional action - especially in competitive situations - but they do not seem to have the motivations and cognitive skills necessary to engage in activities involving collaboration, shared intentionality, and, in general, things cultural. Read a Q&A that further previews his talk here.