Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

SCSB Lunch Series: Sophie Bridgers, Ph.D.

November 18, 2022 | 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Date: Friday, November 18, 2022
Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Location: SCSB Conference room 46-6011 + Zoom Meeting (https://mit.zoom.us/j/96889086712)

Speaker: Sophie Bridgers, Ph.D.
Affiliation: Simons Postdoctoral Fellow, Laura Schulz Laboratory, MIT

Host: Dr. Laura Schulz

Talk title: Loopholes: A window into goal communication and alignment 

Abstract: Finding and exploiting loopholes, a possible but unintended interpretation of a rule or request, is a familiar facet of fable, law, and everyday life. A child may respond to their parent who says “It’s time to the put the tablet down” by continuing to play with the tablet after physically putting it down on the floor. Engaging with loopholes requires a nuanced understanding of goals, social ambiguity, and value alignment and offers a new lens through which to examine human communication and cooperation. However, cognitive and computational research on how humans learn to find these creative workarounds remains scarce. In this talk, I will first present a proposal for a formal framework of goal communication that supports intentional misunderstandings. Second, I will share a series of experiments with non-autistic children and adults that (1) reveal loophole behavior emerges around age five and is prevalent and diverse in parent-child and adult-adult interactions, and (2) indicate adults and children evaluate loopholes more leniently than outright non-compliance, as well as predict others exploit loopholes when goals are in conflict but there is a pressure to cooperate. I will also share ongoing work with autistic populations and conclude with a discussion of the development of loophole behavior. This work has implications for improving communication among humans, across developmental and neurodiverse populations, as well as for safer human-AI interactions.​​


November 18, 2022
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Event Category:


Simons Center Conference Room, Bldg. 46, Room 6011
43 Vassar Street
Cambridge, MA 02139 United States
+ Google Map


Simons Center for the Social Brain