Primate Social Behavior — And What It Reveals About Humans — Is Focus of Event

October 31, 2008

How do we make moral decisions, pick friends and lovers, and develop empathy for the feelings of others? An international group of renowned scientists who study the behavior of mankind’s closest relatives will try to answer these and other fundamental questions at the Evolution of Social Psychology workshop to be held at Yale Friday-Sunday, Nov. 7-9.

The meeting, part of the Yale University Cognitive Science Program’s Interdisciplinary Workshop series, will feature anthropologists, psychologists, primatologists, economists, neuroscientists, lawyers and philosophers - all discussing lessons learned from primate behavior.

“By bringing together researchers from multiple areas of the cognitive sciences we hope to gain novel and important insights into the ways in which primates make sense of their social world,” says Tamar Szabo Gendler, professor of philosophy and chair of the cognitive science program. “We hope to use these insights to understand the origins of human social cognition.”

Among the topics that will be discussed are how primates make social decisions, how they are affected by emotional and unconscious processes, how they evaluate others’ actions in moral terms, and how they reason about the mental states of others.

The workshop begins at 3:15 p.m. on Friday afternoon at Linsley-Chittenden Hall, 63 High St., and continues until Sunday at noon. Pre-registration (no cost) is requested at A full schedule of events is also available at that website.

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