Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Laurie Santos and cognitive dissonance
Laurie R. Santos, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Yale University, was the final guest for the semester at Yale's Mind, Brain, Culture and Consciouness working group at the Whitney Humanities Center. Laurie's research provides an interface between evolutionary biology, developmental psychology and cognitive neuroscience. She indicates that " ... my current work explores what primates understand about physical objects and their motions, how primates spontaneously reason about different kinds of things (foods, artifacts, and animals), and whether or not non-human primates possess precursors to a theory of mind." During her elegant and entertaining presentation, she briefly discussed the recent controversy, raised in a column on April 8, 2008 by John Tierney of the New York Times, regarding a "sneaky logical fallacy in some of the most famous experiments in psychology." This concern regarding research related to cognitive dissonance was raised by M. Keith Chen, an economist at Yale University, and a co-author of Laurie. The following day, Science Blog, provided a challenge to Chen's concerns. We will keep you posted on the academic acrobatics in this area.