Institut Jean Nicod

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Collective Intelligence

Directors : Hugo Mercier & Brent Strickland


Our team studies the cognitive mechanisms that allow humans to become smarter when they reason, solve problems, or make decisions together. 



Hugo Mercier

Most of my work has focused on the function and workings of reasoning (for a short introduction, see here, or here, for more, see The Enigma of Reason). I also work on how we evaluate communicated information (see here), as well as some seemingly random other stuff (such as bloodletting).

I am now turning to the study of epistemic institutions : institutions that play a role in the creation and diffusion of information.

Brent Strickland

"Core knowledge" refers to a set of cognitive systems that appear very early in human development, universally across cultures, and are often preserved to some degree by natural selection. Some examples are an understanding of basic object mechanics, numbers, other people’s mental states, and social categories (e.g. "my group" vs. "outsider"). 

My research asks how core knowledge continues to operate into adulthood in automatic and unconscious ways. I have made a range of recent discoveries showing, in particular, that core knowledge structures automatically guide adult processes of language, memory, visual attention. They even impact important higher level judgments such as those employed in moral and political reasoning.