Ildikó Király is Professor of Cognitive Psychology at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. She has held research fellowships at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and at the Institute for Advanced Study of the Central European University. Her paper « Retrospective attribution of false beliefs in 3-year-olds » (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2018) proposes a novel theoretical distinction between prospective belief tracking and retrospective belief attribution, and provides empirical evidence on children’s capacity to combine present information with relevant events retrieved from episodic memory.
Cognitive development; memory development; social cognition; transmission of cultural knowledge; social learning; mind reading processes
My project aims to build a novel model and refine the contemporary framework for the preconditions and cognitive representational bases of human sociality. Humans are known to be experts at reasoning about others as intentional agents, and to quickly form expectations about others based on their various group memberships. Despite their evident role in navigating the social world, these skills have been investigated separately, implying that they are functionally distinct capacities. The proposal is that both humans’ capacity to think about others in terms of their mental states, and their tendency to form social category judgements about fellow individuals, originate from humans’ fundamental motivation to establish a shared representational space and serve the epistemic goal of identifying the scope of shared knowledge. This alternative theory assumes that social interactions exploit the capacity of naive sociology for detecting common representational framework, on the one hand, and utilize mind reading for detecting alternate representational spaces, on the other hand. These two capacities are in continuous interplay to optimize learning from and learning about fellow humans.