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Department of Cognitive Science
University of California, San Diego
- Social cognition
- Ontogeny and phylogeny of property (possession, ownership)
- Value perception, fairness, distributive and procedural justice
- Joint attention, gaze following, and voice following
- Ontogeny, structure, and timing of gestural communication
- Sequential organization of talk and visible behavior in human communication
- Interactional organization of cognitive and systemic psychotherapy sessions
Christina Ruiz-Mendoza’s interest lies in animal social and developmental cognition. She graduated with a B.S. with Distinctions in Cognitive & Behavioral Neuroscience with a Political Science minor. Her senior thesis investigated whether bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) possess the social skill to co-orient, considering they are highly collaborative and live in complex social systems.
Sanchez-Amaro’s interest is in the social cognitive abilities of great apes and human infants, which he explores through a comparative perspective. Specifically, he is interested in how primates solve cooperative social dilemmas that involve a conflict of interest. To that end, he conducts non-invasive experiments using a variety of Game Theoretical models such as the Snowdrift and the Prisoner’s Dilemma game. In these games, subjects must coordinate their actions in situations where their interests are not aligned. This research has constituted the principal part of his dissertation at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig.
He also conducts non-social cognitive studies aimed at investigating the psychological mechanisms underlying irrational cognitive biases in great apes, such as the “less is more” effect, “sunk-cost” effects and “decoy effect” tasks” in collaboration with colleagues at the CEU in Budapest and the University of St. Andrews in UK.
He just recently joined the Comparative Cognition Lab in the Cognitive Science Department of the University of California, San Diego to conduct his Postdoc research under the supervision of Dr. Federico Rossano.
Rachel Bristol has a BA in English from the University of Oregon, an MA in linguistics from the University of Delaware, and is currently a doctoral candidate in UC San Diego’s department of cognitive science. She is broadly interested in the pragmatic aspects of knowledge negotiation in conversational interaction. Her current work focuses on the social consequences of violating norms of knowledge ownership and transfer and explores the sociolinguistic practices that surround disputes of epistemic authority.
A psychologist by training, Stephan has spent the last years mainly studying the behavior and cognitive abilities of different apes species (gibbons, orangutans, gorillas, humans, bonobos, chimpanzees). Stephan’s research aims at gaining insights about the ultimate and proximate origins of social cognition in humans and animals through comparative and developmental approaches. More precisely, he asks questions such as: To what extent do cultures influence the social behavior in primate societies? How much intraspecific variation can be found in different primate species? What are the ultimate and proximate factors that lead individuals to either cooperate or compete with each other in specific interactions?