2017 National Academy of Science Special Lecture
Duke cognitive scientist Michael Tomasello has been elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. National academy membership is regarded as the highest recognition for a scientist. He is a Duke alumnus, and graduated in 1972 with a B.A. in psychology. He earned a Ph.D.in experimental psychology at the University of Georgia in 1980. He returned to teach at Duke in 2016 as the James F. Bonk Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, and also has appointments in evolutionary anthropology and philosophy.
Tomasello's major research interests are in psychological processes of social cognition, social learning, cooperation, and communication. Much of his research is comparative and developmental, especially comparing great apes' skills with those of human children at different ages. His current theoretical focus is on processes of shared intentionality and how they help to transform the great ape version of all of these social skills into the uniquely human version during ontogeny. His empirical research is mainly with great apes and with human children from 1 to 4 years of age.