CogSci Colloquium Talk:
Causes and consequences of coalitional cognition

Prof. Mina Cikara

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Harvard University

Title: Causes and consequences of coalitional cognition
Date: Wednesday, 21st September 2022
Time: 07:30 pm (IST)
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What is a group? How do we know to which groups we belong? How do we assign others to groups? A great deal of theorizing across the social sciences has conceptualized ‘groups’ as synonymous with ‘categories,’ however there are a number of limitations to this approach: particularly for making predictions about novel intergroup contexts or about how intergroup dynamics will change over time. Here I present two projects that offer alternative frameworks for thinking about these questions. First I review some recent work elucidating the cognitive processes that give rise to the inference of coalitions (even in the absence of category labels). Then I’ll discuss an ongoing project on the effects of social group reference dependence–which falls out of coalitional reasoning–on hate crimes in the U.S. between 1990 and 2010.

About the Speaker
Prof. Mina Cikara is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University and director of the Intergroup Neuroscience Lab. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology and Social Policy from Princeton University and completed her Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. Professor Cikara is interested in how group living shapes our minds, brains, and behavior, studying how they change when the social context shifts from “me and you” to “us and them.” She focuses primarily on how group membership, competition, and prejudice disrupt the processes that allow people to see others as human and to empathize with others.