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Department of Cognitive Science

Cognitive Science Alumni

Kellie Williamson

Kellie Williamson

Thesis Details

Naturalising the group mind: The cognitive life of small groups and teams.

In general, I'm interested in understanding and explaining the intelligent behaviour of groups of people. To do this I draw on a variety of fields including philosophy of science and social science, cognitive science and organisational psychology. My thesis is concerned with the question of whether or not groups are thinkers or cognitive systems in their own right. This phenomenon is often referred to as socially distributed cognition. I'm interested in the possibility of groups as intelligent entities capable of collective beliefs, intentions, rationality, perhaps even emotions, and a host of other cognitive capacities. As social creatures, a number of our daily activities are conducted in the company of others so an important part of my research focuses on how being socially embedded amongst other cognisers transforms the cognition of individuals. Families who share memories of previous holidays, or teams of engineers who work together to solve complex problems appear to be capable of intelligent behaviour that a single individual alone is not. Teasing out the differences between individual-level and group-level behaviour can hopefully offer new ways of understanding cognition as it happens 'in the wild'. Aside from groups, I have ongoing interests in foundational issues in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science including theories of emergence and reduction, as well different accounts of mental representation and computation.

  • Type: Masters
  • Scholarship : APA
  • Supervisors : Professor John Sutton, Dr Rochelle Cox, Emeritus Professor Max Coltheart and Dr Nicolas Bullot

Further Information


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  • Associate Professor Sara Hart
  • Dr Dona Jayakody
  • Professor Sylvain Baillet
  • Dr Etienne Roesch
  • Professor James Douglas Saddy
  • Dr Eva Feredoes
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Contact Details

Telephone: (02) 9850 9599
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