Notice: Dr. Patricia Smith Churchland cannot come to this meeting for certain reasons. Dr. Ralph Adolphs will give us a wonderful talk in the afternoon session.
Frans B.M. de Waal
Living Links Center, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, Atlanta, USA
Biography: Dr. Frans B. M. de Waal is a Dutch/American biologist and primatologist known for his work on the behavior and social cognition of primates. His scientific work has been published in journals such as Science, Nature, Scientific American, and outlets specialized in animal behavior. His popular books – translated into over twenty languages – have made him one of the world’s most visible primatologists. His latest book is Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? (Norton, 2016). De Waal is C. H. Candler Professor in Psychology and Director of the Living Links Center at Emory University, and Distinguished Professor at Utrecht University. He has been elected to the (US) National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences. In 2007, he was selected by Time as one of The Worlds’ 100 Most Influential People Today.
Animal Emotions and Empathy
There is a long history of studies on animal emotions, going back to Darwin. These studies have focused on the face, and have often been reluctant to equate animal and human emotions. They often deal with what is known as the basic emotions, and try to keep cognition out of the equation, studying emotions in isolation. It is only recently that science has begun to pay attention to animal empathy, which is a related topic as it concerns the perception of emotions in others. Empathy comes naturally to a great variety of animals, including humans. In our work with monkeys and apes (and also elephants), we have found many cases of one individual coming to another’s rescue in a fight, putting an arm around a previous victim of attack, or other emotional responses to the distress of others. It is important to see emotional expressions in context. For example, bonobos scream differently in response to an attack dependent on its causation, showing an appraisal of the circumstances. And empathy for others is different dependent on the ability to down-regulate emotions, showing cognitive modulation. The interface between cognition and emotion is in fact a highly interesting area, so instead of trying to isolate emotions, we need to understand their interaction with cognition. I will discuss this issue with examples of primate social behavior.
Professor (Distinguished professor) of Osaka University, Department of Systems Innovation, and Visiting Director (ATR Fellow) of ATR Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratories
Biography: Hiroshi Ishiguro (M’) received a D.Eng. in systems engineering from the Osaka University, Japan in 1991. He is currently Distinguished Professor of Department of Systems Innovation in the Graduate School of Engineering Science at Osaka University (2009–) and Group Leader (2011–) of Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratory at the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute (ATR). His research interests include distributed sensor systems, interactive robotics, and android science. He has published more than 300 papers in major journals and conferences, such as Robotics Research and IEEE PAMI. On the other hand, he has developed many humanoids and androids, called Robovie, Repliee, Geminoid, Telenoid, and Elfoid. These robots have been reported many times by major media, such as Discovery channel, NHK, and BBC. He has also received the best humanoid award four times in RoboCup.
Geminoid that is a tele-operated android of an existing person can transmit the presence of the operator to the distant place. The operator recognizes the android body as his/her own body after talking with someone through the geminoid and has virtual feeling to be touched when someone touches to the geminoid. However, the geminoid is not the ideal medium for everybody. For example, elderly people hesitate to talk with adult humans and adult androids. A question is what is the ideal medium for everybody. In order to investigate the ideal medium, we are proposing the minimum design of interactive humanoids. It is called Telenoid. The geminoid is the perfect copy of an existing person and it is the maximum design of interactive humanoids. On the other hand, the minimum design looks like a human but we cannot know the age and gender. Elderly people like to talk with the telenoid. In this talk, we discuss the design principles and the effect to the conversation.
Joshua D. Greene
Professor of Psychology, a member of the Center for Brain Science faculty, and the director of the Moral Cognition Lab at Harvard University.
Biography: Joshua D. Greene is Professor of Psychology, a member of the Center for Brain Science faculty, and the director of the Moral Cognition Lab at Harvard University. He studies the psychology and neuroscience of morality, focusing on the interplay between emotion and reasoning in moral decision-making. His broader interests cluster around the intersection of philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience. He is the author of Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them.
Human Morality: Features and Bugs
I’ll provide an overview of human morality, drawing on insights from psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy. First, there are two general kinds of moral problems: The original moral problem is the problem of cooperation, the “Tragedy of the Commons”—Me vs. Us. Distinctively modern moral problems are different. They involve what I call the “Tragedy of Commonsense Morality,” which is about conflicting values and interests across social groups—Us vs. Them. Second, there two general kinds of moral thinking: “fast” intuitive thinking that is efficient but inflexible, and “slow” moral reasoning that is flexible but inefficient. I’ll present evidence that “fast” thinking is good for solving basic moral problems, but that solving modern moral problems requires “slow” thinking. I’ll talk about how our emerging scientific understanding of human morality can help us make better decisions.
Bren Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the California Institute of Technology, and director of the Caltech Conte Center for the Neurobiology of Social Decision-Making.
Biography: Ralph Adolphs is Bren Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the California Institute of Technology, and also Professor of Biology and faculty in the Computation and Neural Systems Program at Caltech. He conducted his post-doctoral work with Antonio Damasio at the University of Iowa, studying lesion patients and emotion. He currently directs the Emotion and Social Cognition Lab at Caltech (emotion.caltech.edu), and the Caltech Conte Center for the Neurobiology of Social Decision-Making, an NIH-funded center that includes work in both humans and monkeys. His lab uses a range of methods, including single-unit electrophysiology, behavioral studies, and fMRI; and studies a range of special populations, including people with autism and with agenesis of the corpus callosum. An overarching aim is to make comparisons across these diverse approaches in order to understand human emotions and social behavior.
Emotions, feelings, and social behavior: implications for morality
In this overview talk, I will begin by outlining the different aspects of “emotion” that scientists are studying. In particular, I will distinguish between the functional emotion state (which evolved to regulate behavior in response to specific ecological challenges), the recognition of the emotion in another person or animal (an aspect of social communication, and mental state attribution more broadly), the conscious experience of the emotion (feelings), and our ability to think and talk about emotions (conceptual knowledge of emotions). I will urge that all of these are distinct, should be studied as distinct phenomena, and that they should all be grounded in the first (the emotion state). Social behavior, and our ability to make moral judgments, depend on emotion systems in the brain — in particular on regions of the prefrontal cortex. These systems evolved in order to regulate our behavior in groups, and understanding their function can help us design moral structures for the future, or engineer moral behavior into robots. I will conclude by sketching what I believe are some of the main research challenges to be solved in order to have a scientific understanding of morality.