Lunch hour lectures repository Spring 2009
- Does rule learning make us human?
- The man who invented the concept of pi: William Jones and his circle
- President Obama and America in the World: from inauguration to action
- The Reception of Homer in Byzantium
- Photodynamic Therapy: using light in a gentle approach to cancer therapy by remote control
- One World Week
- Still no black in the union jack
- Darwin Day
- Modelling how water vapour absorbs light
- Children and the environment: independence or obesity?
- Physiology on top of the world - Xtreme Everest
- The future of Brazil
- Sorry, can you say that again..?
- One person households - a resource time bomb?
- Mimicking tissue growth: towards customised, while-you-wait tissue fabrication
- What have the lawyers ever done for us? Law, culture and international agricultural trade
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Does rule learning make us human?
20 January 2009
Dr Robin Murphy (UCL Psychology)
It seems obvious that humans engage in complex thinking some of which is beyond the abilities of other animals. If there are rules of thinking that make us human, we do not seem to be able to describe them. Recent research has claimed to provide a clue to this problem. Studies with human infants demonstrating acquisition of primitive grammar structures that might underlie human language suggested a unique human rule learning ability. This lecture covers some of this research, subsequent research with monkeys along with our recent experiments with rodents suggesting that rats are able to learn similar complex rules and importantly use the rules in new situations. In animals this type of rule learning may support causal understanding.
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