Understanding social behaviours requires both proximate and ultimate explanations. Proximate explanations seek to understand how a given behaviour works - what are its cognitive bases? - while ultimate explanations aim to explain why it exists - why was it selected by evolution?

Over the last twenty years, these two perspectives have developed relatively independently from each other. On the one hand, cognitive psychology studies the workings of mechanisms that are dedicated to the social world: theory of mind, moral judgments, social motivation, cultural transmission, reputation management, etc. On the other hand, evolutionary biology investigates the function of these mechanisms: Why are humans both altruistic and selfish? How can communication develop if cheating and manipulation are possible? Are humans specifically adapted to culture? Despite the success of these two research programs, they have remained relatively isolated from an academic standpoint.The goal of the Evolution and Social Cognition team is to bring these two strands of research together.

Our research focuses on three main areas - Cooperation, Morality and Social Motivation - and borrows tools from both biology and cognitive sciences: modeling, game theory, economic games, comparative psychology, developmental psychology, psychopathology...

The ECS team is part of the Institut d'Etudes Cognitives (IEC).

Tuesday november 10th, at 12 am in Salle Haüy (Bibliothèque des sciences expérimentales): 

Elise Huillery: Inequality in Aspirations: Why do French Teenagers from Low Social Background Limit their Ambition?

Tuesday 7th, at 2pm in Salle Haüy (Bibliothèque des sciences expérimentales):

Carla Aimé: An evolutionary perspective on the relationship between the environment experienced during childhood and later social and reproductive behaviors in humans

For your reading enjoyment
Baumard, N. & Chevallier, C., (2015). The nature and dynamics of world religions: A life history approach. Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Debove, S., Baumard, N. and André, J.-B. (2016), Models of the evolution of fairness in the ultimatum game: a review and classification. Evolution and Human Behavior
Baumard, N., Hyafil, A. & Boyer, p. (2015) What Changed During the Axial Age: Cognitive Styles or Reward Systems?, Communicative and Integrative Biology.
Chevallier, C., Parish‐Morris, J., McVey, A., Rump, K. M., Sasson, N. J., Herrington, J. D., & Schultz, R. T. (2015). Measuring social attention and motivation in autism spectrum disorder using eye‐tracking: Stimulus type matters. Autism Research.
Debove, S., André, J.B. & Baumard, N., (2015) Partner choice creates fairness in humans, Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Chevallier, C., Xu, J., Adachi, K., van der Henst, J.B. & Baumard, N., (2015) Preschoolers’ understanding of merit in two Asian societies, Plos One.
Chevallier, C., Parish-Morris, J., Tonge, N., Le, L., Miller, J. & Schultz R.T. (2014) Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.
Baumard, N., (2013), in . D. Buss (Ed.) Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology (John Wileys and sons).
Sheskin, M., Chevallier, C., Lambert, S., & Baumard, N. (2014). Trends in Cognitive Science
Baumard, N., André, J.B. and Sperber, D., (2013). Behavioral and Brain Sciences (target article), 36 (1) 59-122.
Baumard, N. & Boyer, P., (2013). Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 17 (6) pp. 172 - 180.
Chevallier, C., Kohls, G., Troiani, V., Brodkin, E.S., Schultz, R.T. (2012). Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16(4) 231-239.