Institut Jean Nicod

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Evolution et Cognition Sociale



Mardi 2 juin de 11h30 à 12h30 - Institut Nicod, salle de réunion, RDC.
Alessandro Pignocchi (IJN),
"Film appreciation and mental state attribution"


Passed sessions

Lundi 17 novembre, à 11 heures

Diego Gambetta (Nuffield College, Oxford et European Institute, Florence),
"How information shapes interpersonal conflict"


SALLE DEVILLE - Bibliothèque de science expérimentale - 1er étage. 29, RUE D'ULM - 75005 PARIS

Si vous souhaitez participer, veuillez contacter Gloria Origgi pour les textes.


We investigate experimentally how the amount of information on an opponent’s ‘toughness’ affects the chances that a competitive conflict over scarce resources between two individuals results into a fight. We measure toughness by asking subjects to do a wall-sit for as long as they can resist. We ask to do the exercise twice, once ‘veiled’, when they do not know that a fight may occur and once ‘unveiled’, when they do know. The information on how long they resisted in both exercises is then revealed to the opponent who decides whether to challenge or ignore. If he challenges the other player may yield or resist. If he resists a fight ensues and yields a winner and a loser. The situation aims at reproducing a prison context in which a resident inmate decides whether to challenge a rookie (new entrant) to check how far he can be exploited, and the rookie chooses whether to fight back or be exploited. We find that (i) the more information passes between resident and rookie the lower are the chances of a fight; (ii) both veiled and unveiled wall-sit times provide good information on rookies’ real toughness, (ii) this information is correctly processed by residents. Some prison policy implications are drawn.

Monday 22nd September - Salle Langevin, Ecole normale supérieure, 29, rue d'Ulm 75005 Paris.

12:00 Cristine Legare (University of Texas),
"The ontogeny of cultural learning"

12:45 David Buss (University of Texas),
"Human mating strategies"

Vendredi 19 décembre de 11h à 12h30 - Institut Jean-Nicod, ENS, Pavillon Jardin, 29, rue d'Ulm 75005 Paris. Salle de réunion, RDC.

Thom Scott-Philips (Durham University)

O’Grady, C., Kleisch, C., Smith, K., & Scott-Phillips, T. C. (in press).
"The ease and extent of recursive mindreading, across implicit and explicit tasks". Evolution & Human Behavior.

Recursive mindreading is the ability to embed mental representations inside other mental representations e.g. to hold beliefs about beliefs about beliefs. An advanced ability to entertain recursively embedded mental states is consistent with evolutionary perspectives that emphasise the importance of sociality and social cognition in human evolution: high levels of recursive mindreading are argued to be involved in several distinctive human behaviours and institutions, such as communication, religion, and story-telling. However, despite a wealth of research on first-level mindreading under the term Theory of Mind, the human ability for recursive mindreading is relatively understudied, and existing research on the topic has significant methodological flaws. Here we show experimentally that human recursive mindreading abilities are far more advanced than has previously been shown. Specifically, we show that humans are able to mindread to at least seven levels of embedding, both explicitly, through linguistic description, and implicitly, through observing social interactions. However, our data suggest that mindreading may be easier when stimuli are presented implicitly rather than explicitly. We argue, contrary to intuition, that advanced mindreading abilities are to be expected in an extremely social species such as our own, where the ability to reason about others’ mental states is an essential, ubiquitous and adaptive component of everyday life.

Journal Club Program / Website

Fridays 11:30 - 12:30, Salle Perrin
(Bibliothèque des sciences expérimentales) ENS, 29, rue d'Ulm 75005 Paris.

Vendredi 24 avril de 14h à 15h30 - Institut Nicod, Pavillon Jardin, 29, rue d'Ulm 75005 Paris. Salle de réunion, RDC.
Dan Sperber (IJN, Central European University, Budapest),
"Cultural epidemiology of morality"