Apr 28, 2023 | 15:00—16:00
Mauricio Martins (Uni Wien) will present a talk on Friday, April 28 at 3PM at the Salon.
Psychology is critical to understanding human history. When aggregated, changes in people’s individual preferences can lead to important changes in institutions, social norms, and cultures. Studying the role of psychology in shaping human history has been hindered by the difficulty in recovering the thoughts and preferences of people who are no longer alive. Recent developments in psychology suggest that cultural artifacts reflect, in part, the psychology of the individuals who produced or consumed them. Cultural artifacts can thus serve as “cognitive fossils,” i.e., physical imprints of the preferences of long-dead people. In this talk, I will discuss a series of studies suggesting the relationship between political revolutions in the early modern period and secular changes in peoples’ preferences as expressed in cultural artifacts. I will also discuss how these cultural artifacts can reveal changes in cognition and dominant moral virtues in periods of scientific progress. Hinging on these insights, I will discuss how applying similar tools to modern culture can reveal long trends in psychological preferences and how these can help us understand current social and political dynamics.
Mauricio Martins is a historical psychologist and cognitive neuroscientist at the Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience Unit at the University of Vienna. Initially graduated as a medical doctor from the Lisbon Faculty of Medicine, he did a Ph.D. and his first Postdoc on the cognitive and neural bases of hierarchical reasoning at the University of Vienna and Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences. He then became interested in the psychological underpinnings of social and political change and helped develop the field of historical psychology at the Evolution and Social Cognition lab, École Normale Supérieure.
If you would like to attend the talk, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org