PPIG: Philosophy, Psychology, and Informatics Group

Speaker: Dan Williams (University of Cambridge)

Title: Scaffolding Motivated Cognition

Abstract: Most research on motivated cognition is individualistic: it assumes that individuals form and maintain motivated beliefs primarily through biases in how they seek out and process information. Against this, I argue that many of the most consequential forms of motivated cognition are socially scaffolded, dependent for their success on social practices that function to promote and protect motivated irrationality. Specifically, I identify and explore a common form of motivated cognition that results from group identification. In such cases, motives to form group-favoured beliefs become widespread among group members and create an incentive structure—a pattern of social rewards and punishments—that influences the production and transmission of information in ways conducive to generating, protecting, and rationalising such beliefs. In addition to clarifying this phenomenon, I identify its implications for several topics of interest to philosophers of mind and social epistemologists.

Further information

We are a group of researchers from diverse backgrounds in the above-mentioned groups (and beyond) who aim to gain an interdisciplinary yet deep understanding of the threads that bind the human mind and the world. In particular, this seminar series focuses on the nature of cognition, metacognition and social cognition. We’ll be tackling questions such as, what does it mean to think? What does it mean to think about thinking? And, what does it mean to think about one’s own thinking versus thinking about the thinking of other people? Please come along!

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Contact details

Tillmann Vierkant

Apr 06 2022 -

PPIG: Philosophy, Psychology, and Informatics Group

2022-04-06: Scaffolding Motivated Cognition

Room 2.12, Appleton Tower, 11 Crichton Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9LE