Feb. 24th, John Tooby, Ph.D. – The Welfare Tradeoff Architecture, Cooperation, and Social Emotions – For further reading please see: Formidability and the logic of human anger and The architecture of human kin detection. – Watch lecture

Dr. John Tooby, a guest of the IFREE/ESI Lecture SeriesAbstract: Individuals in social species continually face choices among alternatives that have different impacts on the welfares of self and other.  Our group has been investigating whether humans have an evolved system that automatically computes welfare trade-off ratios (WTRs).  A WTR encodes the relative weight the actor places on her own versus a specific familiar other’s welfare at any given time—functioning as a decision criterion for which choices to make.  A given WTR appears to be quasi-stable, remaining the same until new information is received through a system that is designed by evolution to recalibrate it.  Accordingly, the WTR system appears to be a central element in social emotions such as anger, guilt, and gratitude, which function as programs that, when triggered, recalibrate the magnitude of the WTR toward the triggering individual.  Evidence indicates that dyadic cooperation can be interpreted as a coupling between WTR systems in two individuals.

Bio: John Tooby is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Co-director of the Center for Evolutionary Psychology with Leda Cosmides, his collaborator.  John Tooby is best known for his work in co-founding the field of evolutionary psychology.  He was educated at Harvard (A.B. in psychology, Ph.D. in biological anthropology), and did postdoctoral research at Stanford.  He won a Presidential Young Investigator Award from NSF, has been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, a Guggenheim fellow, a fellow of the American Psychological Society, and president of Human Behavior and Evolution Society.