February 10th, 2010 | Uncategorized

Santos talks monkeys and ‘theory of mind’

A 10-minute interview with psychology professor Laurie Santos appeared Tuesday on BigThink.com, an online forum and blog aggregator. Santos, whose research centers on primate cognitive abilities, fleshed out her work with capuchin monkeys and explained some commonalities she’s discovered between humans and non-human primates.

From the interview:

“A lot of the work with primates tries to explore all these aspects of human cognition that we’re in some sense most proud of … but less work is focused on some of these processes that are just universal in humankind but are kind of dumb — and in some ways, really systematically dumb …

“So we took up the charge of saying, ‘Are any of these dumb biases shared with other primates?’ And we started in the economic domain, in part because this is really a spot where humans can be bad, and the fact that we’re bad can have really enormous consequences, such as the current financial collapse.”

Watch the full interview below: