Thinking about thinking about thinking:

the better you are at higher-order social cognition, the more successful you will be.

Media:  Talk   

May 24, 2016

Byens Lys

Rineke Verbrugge

Full professor of Logic and Cognition at the Institute of Artificial Intelligence of the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. She is a pioneer in building bridges between logic, artificial intelligence and cognitive science. She was awarded an NWO Vici grant for the 5 year project Cognitive systems in interaction: logical and computational models of higher-order social cognition. Homepage


Tromleorkestret plays psychedelic barrel-organ music on a self-constructed mechanical, high tech barrel-organ. The sound from the machine is manipulated wirelessly by a pair of sound-magic-trick-gloves. The machine is controlled by Hjalte Bested Møller and Sofie Hjorth. Homepage

Who is socially smarter: your cat or the crow that just escaped it? Why is it so funny to watch toddlers play hide and seek? When do children learn to think about what others think they think? When should you stop to think about thinking about thinking? How can training help to improve your social cognition skills? What’s logic got to do with it?

In this session of Science & Cocktails, Rineke Verbrugge will discuss several strands of research related to thinking about thinking about thinking. Do animals think about what other animals think? She will discuss this controversy, focusing on the case of chimpanzees and ravens.

But there’s one thing that people can do but animals certainly cannot, and that is recursive ‘thinking about thinking about thinking’. Around their sixth birthday, children learn to apply this distinguishing capacity - second-order social cognition-, which helps them to understand interesting concepts such as lies, secrets and surprises.

But this second-order social cognition doesn’t come easily: even adults tend to stick to lower levels of social reasoning, also in situations in which using ‘thinking about thinking about thinking’ would benefit them. Rineke Verbrugge will clarify what those situations are and how logic puzzles and games can be used to train people to get better at it.

Afterwards, chilled cocktails while Tromleorkestret, a music machine which has a mechanical xylophone and drums, a build-in Cello, microphones in horns and ancient telephones, a very special percussion instrument based on amplified springs and time-synched flamethrowers plus a brand new set of remote controlled instruments, will take the stage.

Entrance to the event is free. No registration is necessary. Doors open at 19:00.

The talk: