5° Coloquio Internacional de Ciencias Cognitivas

Dr. Steven Sloman


Brown University, Providence, RI, Estados Unidos

Título de ponencia:

Dr. Steven Sloman

"Collective Cognition: Collaboration, Outsourcing, and Emergent Knowledge"

Resumen de ponencia:

Typically, people know less about how things work than they think they do. We must rely on our communities of knowledge to think productively. One way is through collaboration: The magic of shared intentionality lets us work together with unparalleled effectiveness. But that’s not the only way we rely on our communities. We also outsource. We depend on knowledge that sits elsewhere—In the heads of people we may not be able to identify and in other places—without being aware that we’re doing so. To support this claim, I report evidence that our sense of understanding derives from beliefs about knowledge that we can access; that we consider explanations satisfactory if they appeal to knowledge entrenched in a community even if they carry no information; and that we outsource our moral judgments to the law under certain circumstances. This tribal aspect of cognition dictates how we should represent individual non-expert knowledge: It consists of superficial representations of common ground plus pointers to more detailed representations. These pointers are grounded on relations of trust.


Steven Sloman received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University in 1990 and completed his post-doctoral research at University of Michigan. He began teaching at Brown in 1992. Steven is a cognitive scientist who studies how people think. He has studied how our habits of thought influence the way we see the world, how the different systems that constitute thought interact to produce conclusions, conflict, and conversation, and how our construal of how the world works influences how we evaluate events and decide what actions to take. The focus of his current research is collective cognition, how we think as a community, a topic elaborated on in his book with Phil Fernbach The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone. His work has been discussed in the New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, Vice, the Financial Times, the Economist, Scientific American, National Geographic, and more. He is former Editor-in-Chief of Cognition: The International Journal of Cognitive Science and currently on the Editorial Board of Decision and Psychological Science