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LFE Research Colloquium with Maria Plötner & Anika Fiebich

On Friday, October 27, 2017 the LFE Research Colloquium takes place at Leipzig University. Dr. Maria Plötner (Clinical Child and Adolescent Psycholog, Leipzig University) and Dr. Anika Fiebich (Department for Philosophy, University Of Milan) will give a lecture.

When? Friday, October 27, 2017 | 1:15 – 3:15 p.m.

Where? Leipzig University, Marschnerstraße 31, House 3, Room 301 („Turmzimmer”), D-04109 Leipzig

Topic Maria Plötner: “Prosocial behavior: Interindividual differences from a clinical perspective”

We would like to review research on interindividual differences of prosocial behavior and discuss how surfeits and deficits of prosocial behavior are linked to psychopathological tendencies in childhood. In addition, we would like to add a counterpart to prosocial behavior: social initiative. Finally, we will introduce some studies on related topics we are currently running in our lab (Clinical Child and Adolescence Psychology, University of Leipzig).

Topic Anika Fiebich: “A Three-Dimensional Approach to Cooperation: Implications for Social Cognition”

The aim of my talk is twofold. First, I argue for cooperation as a three-dimensional phenomenon lying on the continua of (i) a behavioural axis, (ii) a cognitive axis, and (iii) an affective axis. Traditional accounts of joint action argue for cooperation as involving a shared intention. Developmental research has shown that such cooperation requires rather sophisticated social cognitive skills such as having a robust theory of mind – that is acquired not until age 4 to 5 in human ontogeny. However, also younger children are able to cooperate in various ways. This suggests that the social cognitive demands in joint action are a matter of degree, ranging from cognitively demanding cooperative activities involving shared intentions that presuppose sophisticated social cognitive skills such as having a theory of mind to basic joint actions like intentional joint attention. Moreover, any cooperative phenomenon can be located on a behavioural axis, ranging from complex coordinated behaviours (potentially determined by rules and roles) to basic coordinated behaviours such as simple turn-taking activities. Finally, cooperative activities may be influenced by (shared) affective states and agent-specificities. Hence, cooperation can be located on the continuum of an affective axis that is determined by the degree of ‘sharedness’ of the affective state in question. Second, I discuss the implications of the three-dimensional approach for social cognition. The main theories in the contemporary debate on social cognition argue for mental state attribution via folk psychological theories or simulation routines playing a key role in everyday social understanding, leading to a limited focus on those cooperative phenomena that presuppose sophisticated social cognitive competencies. Alternative approaches to social cognition, in turn, tend to overemphasize the role of social interaction in social cognition, leading to a limited focus on those cooperative phenomena that lie on a high point on the behavioural dimension. A pluralist theory of social understanding, by contrast, is able to capture the whole variety of cooperative phenomena and draws its assumptions on findings from social psychology that are neglected by traditional theories.

Madlen Bartholmeß
Phone +49 (0) 341 97 31 870