Program & Abstracts

Please note that this is a provisional schedule. 


Advances in the Study of Human Cognitive Evolution


An interdisciplinary workshop supported by All Souls College, The British Academy, Guarantors of Brain, and Magdalen College’s Calleva Centre


Venue: Grove Auditorium, Magdalen College, University of Oxford


Convenors: Susanne Shultz, Nicola Byrom, Robin Dunbar & Cecilia Heyes

Day 1             
Thursday 23rd June, 2011


9.00                 Registration

9.20                 Welcome and introduction

Chair – Anthony Dickinson (Psychology, University of Cambridge, UK)

9.30 – 10.30    Peter Godfrey-Smith

                        Philosophy, Harvard University, USA

                        Darwinism and Cultural Change

10.30 – 10.50  Coffee

10.50 – 11.50  Cecilia Heyes

All Souls College, University of Oxford, UK

Cultural Origins of Cultural Learning             

11.50 – 12.50  Kevin Laland

Biology, University of St Andrews, UK

The Mystery of Cumulative Culture

12.50-2.00       Lunch

Chair – Samir Okasha (Philosophy, Bristol University, UK)

2.00-3.00         Russell Gray

                        Psychology, University of Auckland, NZ

A New Comparative Psychology

3.00-3.30    Tea

3.30-4.30      Robert Barton

Anthropology, Durham University, UK

Cortico-cerebellar Evolution and the Distributed Neural Basis of Cognition

4.30-5.30    Louise Barrett, Peter Henzi & David Lusseau

Psychology, University of Lethbridge, Canada

Embodiment: taking sociality seriously


5.30                 Reception (Grove Auditorium Foyer)

7.10 for 7.30   Conference Dinner (St Hilda’s College)


Day 2

Friday 24th June, 2011

Chair – Uta Frith (Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL, UK)

9.00–10.00      Kim Sterelny

                        Philosophy, Australian National University

                        Signals, Honesty and the Evolution of Language

 10.00–11.00    Eva Jablonka

Cohn Institute, Tel Aviv University, Israel

Experiencing Language  

11.00–11.30    Coffee 

11.30–12.30    Alison Gopnik 

                        Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, USA

The Role of Childhood in the Evolution of Cognition:

Babies as the R & D division of the human species


12.30– 1.30     Lunch

Chair – Robert Foley (Anthropology, University of Cambridge)

1.30– 2.30       Chris Frith 

Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL, UK

Metacognition and the Social Mind: how individuals interact at the neural level

2.30–3.30        Andrew Whiten & David Erdal

Psychology, University of St Andrews, UK 

Why the Hominin Cognitive Niche Was and Is a Crucially Socio-cognitive Niche

3.30–4.00        Tea

 4.00 - 5.00     Robin Dunbar 

Anthropology, University of Oxford, UK

The Social Brain on the Internet

The Friday session will be followed by a public lecture, organised by Magdalen College’s Calleva Centre for Evolution and Human Science, and held in the same Grove Auditorium:


6.00          Arthur Robson

                   Economics, Simon Fraser University, Canada 

The Evolution of Utility