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What is innate and what is acquired in social cognition ?
vendredi 14 novembre 2014

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Conférence de Uta Frith dans le cadre des conférences Jean Nicod 2014 sur le thème "What makes us special ?"

Cognitive mechanisms that underlie human social interactions encompass many primary capacities, including emotion contagion, learning by observation, and conformity. How do these engines develop in a child and how does nurture shape the development ? I propose that the brain at birth comes equipped with start-up kits that enable fast track learning. I will use so-called ‘explicit mentalising’ as an example of a culturally acquired ability and contrast it with ‘implicit mentalising’, an innate capacity. I also speculate that there are culturally diverse cognitive ‘apps’ that are installed from the outside, by instruction. Once installed, they can trickle down into the unconscious part of the social mind and can control implicit processes. Thus, tensions between different innate mechanisms can be resolved. This can explain how human beings create normative rules for acceptable and unacceptable social behaviour, which regulate selfishness and altruism.

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Uta Frith
University College de Londres - Department Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience & Dept. Psychology

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Uta Frith est une physiologiste pionnière dans l'étude de la dyslexie et de l'autisme sous l'angle de la neuroscience cognitive.Née en Allemagne, elle est diplômée de psychologie clinique à l'institut de neuroscience cognitive du King's College de Londres. Elle officie ensuite en Angleterre à l'University College de Londres où elle enseigne et conduit des recherches en neurosciences. Parmi ses élèves, on compte Simon Baron-Cohen et Tony Attwood.

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Dernière mise à jour : 24/03/2015