Dimensions of the Social Mind:How Adversarial Collaboration on Research, Adversarial Alignment of Models, and Effective Process Can Advance the Science
TWCF Number
Project Duration
July 1 / 2020
- June 30 / 2022
Core Funding Area
Big Questions
North America
Amount Awarded
Grant DOI*

* A Grant DOI (digital object identifier) is a unique, open, global, persistent and machine-actionable identifier for a grant.

Susan T. Fiske
Institution The Trustees of Princeton University

What dimensions drive the ways we judge each other? When we decide how to act with another person, what do we seek to know about them? This project seeks to tackle fundamental questions about the social mind through adversarial collaboration—that is, bringing together researchers with competing theories to advance science.

People judge others and themselves all the time. Judging whom to trust, whose knowledge to respect, or whose views to share: all tell us whom to approach or avoid and who will cooperate or compete. Social evaluation allows us to survive and thrive as we navigate the world. It is also a major preoccupation of the conscious mind.

The five primary investigators of this project—Susan T. Fiske, Andrea Abele-Brehm, Naomi Ellemers, Alex Koch, and Vincent Yzerbyt—have different models of social evaluation. The models are all robust and credible but disagree over the fundamental dimensions of social evaluation. To reconcile these contradictions, the PIs began to collaborate. Guided by shared cooperative goals, mutual respect, and trust, they developed principles for adversarial negotiation.

Their current project builds on this groundwork. First, the researchers will communicate their methods at a small, interactive workshop for researchers. Second, they will disseminate the research from their existing adversarial project and conduct new adversarial collaborations, focusing on three central controversies and proposed alignments of theory. These research projects both demonstrate proof of concept and resolve enduring issues about the social mind.

Opinions expressed on this page, or any media linked to it, do not necessarily reflect the views of Templeton World Charity Foundation, Inc. Templeton World Charity Foundation, Inc. does not control the content of external links.
Related Blog Post
How Adversarial Collaboration Makes Better Science & Better Scientists with Virginia Cooper, Susan Fiske, Daniel Kahneman, Christof Koch & Lucia Melloni (podcast)

Can courageous dialogue between scientists with competing theories eliminate confirmation bias?

Read More
Person doing research
Projects &
Explore the projects we’ve funded. We’ve awarded hundreds of grants to researchers and institutions worldwide.

Projects & Resources