22.10.2019 - 08:34
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Human cognition viewed through a cross-cultural lens

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, welcomes Daniel Haun as new Director

Psychologist Daniel Haun is joining the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (MPI-EVA) as new Director on 1 April 2019. He was most recently a Professor for Early Child Development and Culture at Leipzig University and the Director of the Leipzig Research Center for Early Child Development. Haun is interested in the ways in which human cognition adapts to, shapes and enables cultural diversity.

"Across cultures, humans might differ in the ways they perceive social relations, social emotions, colour, number or space. There is nothing quite like meeting a group of people who see things you don’t, memorise things you can‘t or regularly do things you won‘t", says Daniel Haun. "The extent and structure of cultural diversity is unique to humans amongst animals. It must be enabled, but also restrained, by developmental processes. Understanding these processes is one of the keys to understanding human psychology and its evolution."

At the MPI-EVA Haun’s new Department of Comparative Cultural Psychology will combine cross-cultural, comparative and developmental approaches, providing an integrative account of uniquely human cultural diversity and its universal developmental roots.

Daniel Haun studied Experimental Psychology in Germany, the United States and England. He received his Ph.D. at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics investigating cross-cultural variability of spatial cognition under the supervision of Stephen Levinson. He spent his postdoctoral studies focusing on spatial and social cognition in non-human great apes and children at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. From 2007 to 2008 Haun was a lecturer for Psychology at the University of Portsmouth before directing the Research Group for Comparative Cognitive Anthropology, a joint project of the Max Planck Institutes for Psycholinguistics and Evolutionary Anthropology, from 2008 to 2013. He was Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Jena from 2014 to 2015, and since 2015, has been a Professor of Early Child Development and Culture at Leipzig University and Director at the Leipzig Research Center for Early Child Development. In 2019 Haun starts his position as a director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig.

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The MPI-EVA was founded in 1997. Its currently five departments unite researchers from more than 30 countries and with various scientific backgrounds whose aim is to investigate the history of humankind from an interdisciplinary perspective with the help of comparative analyses of genes, cultures, cognitive abilities and social systems of past and present human populations as well as those of primates closely related to human beings.

 

Contact:

Sandra Jacob
Press Officer
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig
+49 341 3550-122
jacob@eva.mpg.de