Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience and Cognitive Systems

CCNCS Seminar Details

Computational and brain processes underlying social thinking and stereotype formation

Speaker: Dr Robin Murphy
Date/Time: Wednesday 24 March 2010, 4.15pm
Location: KLT4, School of Psychology


Our understanding of the role played by cognitions in stereotype formation and negative minority groups stereotypes in particular was established by the simple and elegant experiments conducted by Hamilton and colleagues (e.g., Hamilton & Gifford, 1974). In spite of the insight provided by the experimental manipulations the theoretical mechanisms were not as elegant. I will argue that the cognitive mechanisms to explain this effect were being contemporaneously developed in the field of associative learning and animal learning in particular. Experiments are presented illustrating how simple learning principles can help us understand social phenomena and generate novel predictions. I will also present some recent evidence taken from a brain scanning study using fMRI designed to discover converging support for the theoretical tools associative learning brings to bear on the problem.

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Centre for Cognitive Science and Cognitive Systems, School of Psychology, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NP

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Last Updated: 24/05/2013