Michael Tomasello

Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

Michael Tomasello

Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

Human Collaboration

For the past 20 years, my colleagues and I have been conducting comparative studies of great apes and human children. The early studies focused on social learning, the middle studies focused on “theory of mind”, and the most recent studies have focused on cooperation and communication. Throughout, our goal has been to determine what distinguishes humans from other great apes in terms of both their cognitive and their social capacities. Our current hypothesis is that whereas great apes are immensely intelligent and skillful as individuals, humans have found ways to amplify their cognitive and social skills by putting their heads together with others cooperatively in acts of shared intentionality.