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Michael Tomasello

Max Planck Institute, Leipzig, Germany - Heineken Prize Winner

July 23, 2011
34 minutes
Michael Tomasello


Michael Tomasello, an internationally renowned developmental psychologist, is the Co-Director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany. His research interests focus on processes of social cognition, social learning, and communication/language in human children and great apes – notably the unique cognitive and cultural underpinnings of behavior that distinguish humans from their primate relatives. In his developmental research he has focused on how human children become members of cultural groups, focusing in recent years on uniquely human skills and motivations for shared intentionality: joint intentions, joint attention, prosocial motives, and social norms. His books include First Verbs; Primate Cognition; The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition; Constructing a Language: A Usage-Based Theory of Language Acquisition; Origins of Human Communication and Why We Cooperate.