The Social Cognition Lab investigates social intelligence in human and non-human primates. Our work focuses on a cornerstone of human intelligence: observational and imitation learning. Some of the questions we are currently pursuing include: How and what do children and primates learn from others? What are the characteristics of good versus bad imitators? Do human and non-human primates differ in the types of rules or responses that they can copy? In humans, does the imitation of different types of rules or responses (spatial, motor, cognitive, vocal) develop in different stages? Through collaborations with the National Zoo and Children’s National Medical Center as well as with scientists in Columbia University, McMaster University, and the University of Southern Mississippi, we aim to address these questions in order to shed light on the development and evolution of the social mind.

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