Dr. Laurie Santos "The Evolution of Irrationality: Insights from Monkeys. "April 28, 2012 at 11 a.m. to noon

Time: April 28, 2012 at 11 a.m. to noon
Location:Alumni Hall

Dr. Laurie Santos is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Yale University and is the director of Yale's Comparative Cognition Laboratory where she and her graduate students study the evolutionary origins of human thinking. She also conducts her research with primates at the Cayo Santiago field station off the coast of Puerto Rico and the Lemur Conservation Foundation Myakka City Reserve in Florida. Dr. Santos received her A.B. in Psychology and Biology from Harvard University in 1997 and her Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard in 2003. She started teaching at Yale in 2003. In 2007, Dr. Santos was selected as one of Popular Science Magazine's "Brilliant 10 eyoung scientists and in 2010 was an invited speaker at the TED Global Conference. Recently, Dr. Santos received the 2012 APA Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contributions to Psychology in animal learning and behavior. Dr. Santos explores the topic of human irrational behavior, examining where it comes from and whether there is an evolutionary basis for our biased decision-making.

The title for her talk is "The Evolution of Irrationality: Insights from Monkeys. "

Where does human irrational behavior come from? My talk will explore the origins of our irrational judgment and decision-making biases. Specifically, I will explore the possibility that some aspects of adult human irrational decision-making might be shared with non-human primates. I will then attempt to use a comparative approach to directly address the origins of several classic human irrationalities in capuchin monkeys. I will then discuss why such irrationalities may emerge so early in human evolution, with the hope of providing insight into the psychological machinery that drives both accurate and biased decision-making.