Save the dates: Fall 2020 Lectures

Alia Martin
Victoria University of Wellington
September 15, 2020
Carpenter 013, 3:45 pm
Communication allows us to share our thoughts with other people, but figuring out how to communicate effectively with others, and determining what others are trying to communicate to us, is a challenge. How do babies and young children, immersed in a world of words, actions, and thoughts, learn how communication works?
She studies how humans come to reason about others' psychological states (their thoughts, beliefs, intentions, desires, etc.) and how this reasoning informs our expectations, explanations, and evaluations of others' behaviour and how we choose to interact with them. She is especially interested in investigating the origins of these theory of mind capacities by identifying the social domains in which they are used, such as communication, helping, competition, and action understanding. She asks these questions in a few different populations, including babies, children, adults, and nonhuman primates.

Yael Niv
Princeton University
October 20, 2020
Carpenter 013, 3:45 pm
Learning has long been conceptualized as the formation of associations between stimuli, actions and outcomes, which can then guide decision making in the presence of similar stimuli. But how should we define these stimuli (also called states in reinforcement learning theory) in complex, real-world environments? Implementations of reinforcement learning, whether in a world-class backgammon player or in modeling the choices of a rat in a conditioning experiment, typically use specialized, hand-crafted state representations that are uniquely suited to the task at hand. But how do humans and animals craft task representations in naturalistic scenarios?

Joseph Henrich
Harvard University
November 10, 2020
Carpenter 013, 3:45 pm
His research focuses on evolutionary approaches to psychology, decision-making and culture, and includes topics related to cultural learning, cultural evolution, culture-gene coevolution, human sociality, prestige, leadership, large-scale cooperation, religion and the emergence of complex human institutions. Methodologically, he integrates ethnographic tools from anthropology with experimental techniques drawn from psychology and economics. His area interests include Amazonia, Chile and Fiji.

Free and open to public.