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Mark Nielsen Lecture: 17 Settembre 2019 ore 15 aula Piaget, Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della Cognizione.
Via San Martino della Battaglia 44, 00185 Roma.

Lecture Abstract:
The majority of humans hold to some kind of supernatural belief system. According to numerous authors these systems will disappear as we embrace scientific thinking. But this standpoint might be wrong. Research into young children’s emerging proclivities for imitation and tool innovation reveals a strong reliance on social motivations. Evidence from the archeological record indicates that such reliance is anchored deep in our evolutionary past. That we have evolved to rely heavily on socially motivated copying is a basis for scientific ideas to be passed from generation to generation. It also means functionally irrelevant behaviors can be easily maintained. Rituals, and by extension religious practices, are another expression of this. I will argue that this means science and religion are connected in ways that (paradoxically) may ensure the latter will continue to thrive in the face of advances in the former.

Mark is an Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology at The University of Queensland and a Senior Research Associate at the University of Johannesburg. He has published over 90 scholarly papers, is on the editorial boards of The Journal of Experimental Child Psychology and PLoS ONE, and a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science. His research interests lie in a range of inter-related aspects of social and cognitive development in young human children and non-human primates, with a focus on charting the origins and development of human culture.

Unit of Cognitive Primatology - tutte le immagini del sito sono protette da copyright 
Unit of Cognitive Primatology: all images are copyrighted