Entry 457 of 459

News Details

Report: 41st Altenberg Workshop in Theoretical Biology Sociocultural EvoDevo, on Cultural Neurobiological Inheritance Systems (CNIS) 18-21 June 2024

The 41st Altenberg Workshop in Theoretical Biology, with the theme Sociocultural EvoDevo: Cultural Neurobiological Inheritance Systems (CNIS) was held at the KLI, Klosterneuberg Austria, from 18-21 June 2024. This workshop was organised by Isabella Sarto-Jackson (KLI) and Daniel O. Larson (California State University). It brought together world-renowned scholars from multiple fields including neurobiology, anthropology, evolutionary developmental biology, social psychology and human development.

Within five carefully curated sessions spread over two and half days, the scholars discussed the roles each of these fields could play in an interdisciplinary effort to build a comprehensive theory of human behavior grounded in a Sociocultural EvoDevo framework, and how best to bridge the varied disciplines to shape conceptual innovations, pose hypothesis testing programs, structure interdisciplinary research designs and employ advanced methods and technologies.

The workshop started with a welcome dinner on 18th June, and was followed by two and half days of talks and intense discussions. All Fellows of the KLI participated actively in the discussions and contributed to the spirit of the workshop. While the talks, lively discussions and conversations nourished the academic soul of the of the participants, the host institute took care to nourish the physical and gastronomic aspects with delicious lunches and a spread of fine Viennese pastries and cakes, and fruits and beverages.

The informal events of the workshop also included a trip to a traditional Austrian heurigen (a wine tavern in a vineyard) for dinner on the night of the 19th, and a boatride on the Danube to Bratislava and dinner on the evening of the last day, i.e. 21st June.


Here is a quick look at the sessions, chairs, speakers and talk titles:

Session 1: A Novel Evolutionary Theory for Cognition?

(Chair: Markus Kunze, Medical University of Vienna)

Daniel Larson (California State University) & Isabella Sarto-Jackson (KLI): Sociocultural EvoDevo Theory and CNIS: A Rough Draft

Kevin Lala (University of St Andrews): Evolution Evolving: Human Cognition in Light of the New Biology

Christine Caldwell (University of Stirling):Interdependencies between Human Cognition and Culture: How Do We Flesh out the Details of Coevolutionary Accounts?

Session 2: Sociocultural Evolution & Neurobiological Inheritance

(Chair: Sophie Veigl, University of Vienna)

Michael Tomasello (Duke University): Cultural Coordination and Uniquely Human Cognition

Ehud Lamm (Tel Aviv University): Collective Knowledge or Collective Inheritance?

Oded Rechavi (Tel Aviv University): Thinking Transgenerational Inheritance

Isabelle Mansuy (University & ETH Zürich): How Traumatic Experiences in Early Life Can Affect Descendants via the Germline

Session 3: Developmental Plasticity & Substrates of Cognition

(Chair: Isabella Sarto-Jackson, KLI)

Barbara Fischer (KLI & University of Vienna): Modelling the Evolution of Sensitive Windows in Animal Development

Claudia Buss (Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin & University of California Irvine): Intergenerational Transmission of Maternal Childhood Maltreatment and the Role of Fetal Programming

Annelies Hoorn (University of Toronto): Temporal Dynamics of Neuronal Excitability in the Lateral Amygdala Mediates Allocation to an Engram Supporting Conditioned Fear Memory

Session 4: Development, Behavior & Neurodynamics

(Chair: Markus Kunze, Medical University of Vienna)

Regina Sullivan (New York University School of Medicine): Mechanisms of Neurobehavioral Intergenerational Transmission of Infant Attachment and Trauma

Francesca Cirulli (Istituto Superiore di Sanità / Italian Institute of Health): Embedding Early Experiences into Brain Function:Understanding the Neurobiological Mechanisms to Improve Resilience in the Face of Adversity and Build the Foundation of a Healthy Life

Igor Branchi (Istituto Superiore di Sanità / Italian Institute of Health): Uncovering the Determinants of Brain Functioning, Behavior and Their Interplay in the Light of Context

Session 5: Towards a Unified Framework of Cognition

(Chair: Luis Alejandro Villanueva Hernández, University of Würzburg)

Antonella Tramacere (University of Roma Tre): Scaling Up Embodied Perspectives in Cognitive Evolution

Adam Linson (Open University):Cultural Pressure on the Evolution of Cognitive Flexibility: Polyvalent Perception, Context Modulation, and Planning as Inference