November 28, 2022

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Caroline Schuppli
Max Planck Research Group leader

"Skill acquisition and life history: towards a better understanding of cognitive evolution"

Cognitive capacity gets selected for via skills and abilities which provide individuals with fitness benefits. However, strikingly, the larger brained a species is, the more incompetent its infants are at birth and the more they must learn to become functioning adults. This suggests that especially for large-brained species, the developmental construction of intelligence critically depends on inputs during ontogeny. Therefore, to understand the evolution of cognition, we need to look at how skills and abilities develop in individuals. To shed light on these questions, we conduct long-term research on orangutans as well as look at broader patterns across species using comparative analyses. Our results suggest that that extended developmental periods during which skills can develop as well as learning  mechanisms that allow for efficient skill acquisition are crucial for the evolution of high-level cognition.


Meeting ID: 928 2643 6236

Passcode: BEC

host: UCLA BEC