Luca Surian is a Full Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Trento. For many years, Prof. Surian has been carrying out research on the development of language and cognitive processes
My talk will focus on the origins and development of two core aspects of human social cognition and their functional connections. First, I will discuss our ability to make sense and predict agents' actions by reasoning about goals and mental states. Second, I will turn to our ability to generate socio-moral evaluations of actions and agents. By reviewing recent work from our lab, as well as from other research groups, I will show that both skills emerge very early in development and I will discuss how they are fine-tuned by experience and by language acquisition.
Finally, I will propose that both sets of skills rely on domain specific mechanisms and dedicated representational resources that are, quite plausibly, evolutionary adaptations.
He also held appointments at the Medical Research Council - Cognitive Development Unit in London and at the Departments of Psychology of the Universities of Padua, Trieste and Greensboro (North Carolina. For many years, Prof. Surian has been carrying out research on the development of language and cognitive processes, with a particular interest in the conceptual development and the acquisition of communicative competence and social cognition both in typically developing children and in children with atypical development, such as those with autism and specific language impairment.