Understanding Caregiving: Biology, Psychology, & Policy
TWCF Number
Project Duration
February 1 / 2022
- July 31 / 2024
Core Funding Area
Big Questions
North America
Amount Awarded

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Alison Gopnik
Institution The Regents of the University of California, Berkeley

Caring for others is crucial for human flourishing, but it demands a distinctive and difficult kind of thinking. Instead of pursuing their own goals, carers must figure out how to help others thrive. Despite its social and moral importance, there has been very little research into caregiving’s distinctive psychological and cognitive foundations. Caring for children is particularly important, but the same abilities are involved in care for the elderly or the ill, and in activities like teaching and therapy. Caregiving abilities also played an exceptionally important role in the evolution of human capacities such as cooperation and altruism. Yet caregiving has received much less intellectual attention than other human abilities.

Designing policies that will support caregiving is more crucial than ever. New TWCF-funded research by Alison Gopnik at the Department of Psychology at University of California, Berkeley will bring together psychological, philosophical, biological, computational, and policy perspectives to explore this foundational but often neglected aspect of human flourishing. It includes a series of interdisciplinary workshops on the topic and an in depth review to discover, summarize, and synthesize the very diverse existing relevant literature.

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