The role of social cognition in … social cognition

Date: Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Speaker: Joshua Hartshorne, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Boston College
Host: Dr. Ev Fedorenko, Dr. Frederik Kamps

Abstract: There is broad agreement that humans are equipped with domain-specific social reasoning abilities — abilities that vary independent of general intelligence. There is similarly broad agreement that these abilities play a key role in language understanding, particularly with respect to pragmatics. The evidence for the first proposal is largely anecdotal; the evidence for the latter, mostly theoretical. In both cases, the empirical evidence is remarkably thin. I describe a decade of (so far unpublished!) studies testing the two propositions. On the surface, the evidence thus far is mixed with respect to the first proposal and decidedly against the second. I argue that this suggests a rethinking of the role social reasoning plays in real-time behavior.

Recently published work:

Chen, T., & Hartshorne, J. K. (2021). More evidence from over 1.1 million subjects that the critical period for syntax closes in late adolescence. Cognition, 214, 104706.
Hartshorne, Joshua K. (2020). How massive online experiments (MOEs) can illuminate critical and sensitive periods in development. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences.
Hartshorne, J. K., Huang, Y. T., Lucio Paredes, P. M., Oppenheimer, K., Robbins, P. T., & Velasco, M. D. (2021). Screen time as an index of family distress. Current Research in Behavioral Sciences, 2, 100023.