Max -Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6
ROSI is a newly founded research group funded by the VolkswagenStiftung and hosted by the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. The research in this newly founded research group will focus on the the evolution of humans' unique social cognition.
Human social cognition appears to be unique throughout the animal kingdom in its complexity as well as its impact on the lifestyle and environment of the species. With this project we aim to isolate social cognitive skills that are unique to humans. We aim to do so by comparing humans with their closest living relatives, the great apes. In addition to being unique amongst the apes, any property definitional of ‘being human’ is by necessity a human universal. To answer the question of human universals we aim to compare social cognition across a selected set of diverse human cultural groups. We argue that any characteristic shared across cultures representing diverse modes of subsistence, ecological environments, and continents is a likely candidate for a human universal.