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Cecilia Heyes [1][2] (born 6 March 1960)[3] is Professor of Psychology at the University of Oxford. She trained as an experimental psychologist at University College London (UCL), before conducting postdoctoral work under Donald T Campbell and Daniel Dennett. Since 2008, she has been a senior research fellow at All Souls College, Oxford.

Heyes works on the evolution of cognition, exploring ways in which natural selection, learning, developmental and cultural processes combine to produce the mature cognitive abilities found in adult humans.[4]

Heyes argues that the picture presented by some evolutionary psychology of the human mind as a collection of cognitive instincts - organs of thought shaped by genetic evolution over very long time periods[5][6] - does not fit research results. She posits instead that humans have cognitive gadgets[7] - 'special-purpose organs of thought' built in the course of development through social interaction. These are products of cultural rather than genetic evolution,[8] and may develop and change much more quickly and flexibly that cognitive instincts.

Selected publicationsEdit

The following are some of her more heavily cited papers:[9]

  • Heyes, C. M. (2012) New thinking about the evolution of human cognition. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 367, 2091 - 2096.
  • Heyes, C. M. (2009) Evolution, development and intentional control of imitation. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 364, 2293 - 2298.
  • Heyes, C.M.,Catmur, C., Gillmeister, H., Bird, G., Liepelt, R., and Brass, M. (2008)Through the looking glass: counter-mirror activation following incompatible sensorimotor learning. Featured article in European Journal of Neuroscience, 28(6), 1208-15.
  • Heyes, C.M. Press, C. and Gillmeister, H. (2007) Sensorimotor experience enhances automatic imitation of robotic actions. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London: B, 274, 2509-14.
  • Heyes, C. M. Catmur, C. and Walsh, V.(2007) Sensorimotor learning configures the human mirror system. Current Biology, 17, 1527-31.
  • Heyes, C. M. and Brass, M. (2005) Imitation: Is cognitive neuroscience solving the correspondence problem? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9, 489-95.
  • Heyes, C. M. (2003) Four routes of cognitive evolution. Psychological Review, 110, 713-727.
  • Heyes, C. M. & Huber, L. Eds. (2001) Evolution of Cognition. MIT Press. Pp. 400. ISBN 9780585368900 According to WorldCat, the book is held in 1207 libraries[10]