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SCSB Special Seminar – Dr. Tobias Grossmann

November 1, 2017 | 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Time: 10:00 am-11:00 am
Speaker: Tobias Grossmann, Ph.D.
Affiliation: Associate Professor​, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia and Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

Host: Rebecca Saxe, Ph.D., Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT

Talk title: The cradle of human sociality
Abstract: Sensitive responding to others’ emotional states is a hallmark feature of human social functioning. How this essential social ability develops during infancy will be the main question addressed in my talk. In particular, I will present recent neuroscience work to argue that emotion processing: (1) undergoes critical development during the first year of life, (2) is multifaceted in response to facial, vocal, and bodily cues, (3) ​can ​operate independently of conscious awareness, and (4) varies as a function of epigenetic modifications in the oxytocin system. I will also present longitudinal work showing that variability in infants’ responses to fear (distress) in others selectively predict​s​ their altruistic helping behavior as toddlers. Taken together, the research program summarized in this talk will paint a rich picture of when and how emotion processing skills emerge in the developing brain and what cooperative functions they serve. This offers a fresh look at the developmental and brain origins of human (pro)sociality.​


November 1, 2017
10:00 am - 11:00 am
Event Category:


Singleton Auditorium, Bldg. 46, Room 3002
43 Vassar Street
Cambridge, MA 02139 United States
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Simons Center for the Social Brain