Communication and Cognition in Nonhuman Species and the Evolution of Consciousness
Coordinators: Anindya Sinha and VV Binoy
Read research papers from Anindya Sinha
Empirical and observational studies of animal cognition will truly benefit if different behavioural manifestations of higher cognitive processes can be defined functionally. This is vitally important because, when studying animals, cognition has to necessarily manifest in behaviour for it to be tractable, and the performance of such behaviour, in turn, needs to be unambiguously ascribed to an effect of particular cognitive processes. There are several theoretical frameworks to investigate cognition in animals in terms of mentalistic notions, including that of the intentional stance, which assumes that each individual is an intentional system capable of mental states like beliefs, desires and emotions. To attribute such mental states to both oneself and to others is to have what has been termed a theory of mind. Social animals appear to be knowledgeable about one another’s behaviour to different extents. But do they know as much about one another’s beliefs and intentions?

Distributed Cognition, Decision making ...

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Distributed cognition and Socio-cognitive complexity
Are they adept at recognizing the similarities and differences between their own and others’ states of mind? Behavioural decision-making processes need to be analysed carefully in order to ascertain whether true higher-order intentionality can indeed be invoked as underlying mechanisms governing these acts. The alternative perspective of distributed cognition, however, disregards the ability of an individual to have observationally invisible mental states and only recognizes communicative interactions and the behavioural dynamics within the entire group as manifestation of the socio-cognitive complexity that individuals are alone capable of displaying.

 

 

Animal cognitive psychology In this research programme, we hope to explore some of these theoretical, empirical and philosophical issues in animal cognitive psychology, ranging from mental representation to distributed cognition, hopefully, ultimately leading to a better understanding of the current status of perceptive and reflective consciousness in animals.


Our Doctoral Students and their work
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Making small leaps ...
(Mani Bhaumik Research Fellowship studies)
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