Cognitive Science Colloquium - Max Kleiman-Weiner

Thu, May 2, 2019, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Peretsman Scully Hall - Room 101

Abstract: Human cooperation is distinctly powerful. We collaborate with others to accomplish together what none of us could do on our own; we share the benefits of collaboration fairly and trust others to do the same. Even young children cooperate with a scale and sophistication unparalleled in other animal species. I seek to understand these everyday feats of social intelligence in computational terms. What are the cognitive representations and processes that underlie these abilities and what are their origins? I will present a formal framework based on the integration of individually rational, hierarchical Bayesian models of learning, together with socially rational multi-agent and game-theoretic models of cooperation. I use this framework to probe cognitive questions across three time-scales: evolutionary, developmental, and in the moment. First, I investigate the evolutionary origins of the cognitive structures that enable cooperation and support social learning. I then describe how these structures are used to learn social and moral knowledge rapidly during development. Finally, I show how this knowledge is generalized in the moment, across an infinitude of possible situations: inferring the intentions and reputations of others, distinguishing who is friend or foe, and learning a new moral value all from just a few observations of behavior.