CCBBI Seminar Series Friday 4/2: Hyowon Gweon, PhD-Title: Learning from Others, Helping Others Learn: Cognitive Foundations of Distinctively Human Social Learning
This talk is part of the CCBBI seminar series and will start at 1pm in this zoom room:
Abstract: Humans are not the only species that learns from others, but only humans learn and communicate in rich, diverse social contexts, build repertoires of abstract, structured knowledge, and even develop cultural practices (e.g., parenting, schools) to share such knowledge with others. What makes human social learning so distinctive, powerful, and smart?
In this talk, I argue that human social learning must be studied not as a one-way transmission of information but as a bidirectional, cooperative interaction between someone who wants to learn (e.g., a learner) and someone who wants to help others learn (e.g., a teacher). Beyond passively copying what others do or trusting what others say, young children actively engage in a range of epistemic practices to learn from others and help others learn, about the world, about others, and even about the self. Although social learning and teaching have been studied in separate literatures, they may have common cognitive roots: Domain-general probabilistic inferences guided by an intuitive understanding of how people think, plan, and act. I raise questions about the neural mechanisms that support these representations and inferential processes, pointing to some ongoing work that begins to address these questions.
Hyowon (Hyo) Gweon (she/her) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and Director of Graduate Studies for the Symbolic Systems Program at Stanford University. Hyo received her PhD in Cognitive Science (2012) from MIT, where she continued as a post-doc before joining Stanford in 2014.
Hyo is broadly interested in how humans learn from others and help others learn. Taking an interdisciplinary approach that combines developmental, computational, and neuroimaging methods, her research aims to explain the cognitive underpinnings of distinctively human learning, communication, and prosocial behaviors.