Back to top

Diverse Intelligences

A World Alive with Brilliance

video thumbnail

The Templeton World Charity Foundation, Inc. is proud to announce our Diverse Intelligences Initiative, a multi-year, global effort to advance understanding of intelligence in its many forms. Through an initial commitment of $20 million, this initiative supports leading experts from around the globe working in a variety of academic disciplines. Our mission is to find the world’s best minds and promote open-minded, forward-looking investigations to advance our understanding of the constellation of intelligences.

The Initiative is Focused on Three Challenges

Beyond the Turing Test: Elucidating the similarities and differences between machine and biological intelligences:

The Turing test has become a popular concept for exploring whether machine intelligence can rival that of humans. Seventy years since Turing’s paper, a myriad of discoveries of animal (including human) intelligence call for a more nuanced understanding of this concept. Our challenge is to develop a unified explanatory description of the similarities and differences between animal and machine intelligence. Read more

The Brilliance of the Living World

The living world is alight with bright sparks of intelligence. They form a brilliant constellation of differences and capacities that remain largely unexplored. Our challenge is to expand outward from human experience to find other ways of knowing, experiencing, and flourishing that will inform and enliven our own. Read more

Morality in the Machine Age: Keeping Humans in the Loop

Human moral capacities need not be diminished by new technologies and the ‘machine age’ need not be a period of sinister, controlling algorithms. Our goal is to support new systems for human-machine interactions that will provide tools to empower human moral intelligence, enhance our ethical capacities, and propel human spiritual betterment. Read more

New Grants

The Human Significance of Affective Intelligence: A Theoretical and Empirical Exploration

If you look up “intelligence” in the thesaurus, you’ll find “rational” listed near the top of the entry. Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio (University of Southern California) wants to broaden that narrow definition. His project seeks to widen the conception of intelligence by researching affect: the emotional and feeling processes that help us make life’s fundamental decisions.

Promoting Altruism in Children

How do we develop moral intelligence? In this project, Dr. Andrew Meltzoff, an expert on child development at the University of Washington, investigates how childhood experiences shape human minds and values. In doing so, he seeks to develop ways to foster and enhance altruism.

Intelligence and Consciousness in Flies

Can conscious intelligence be found across the biological spectrum? To answer this question, Dr. Naotsugu Tsuchiya investigates a mind radically different from our own: that of the fruit fly. Through a series of rigorous scientific experiments, this project seeks to develop a more empirical approach to understanding consciousness in diverse species.

Neurodiverse Intelligence? An Examination of Culturally-Specific Social Intelligence among People on the Autism Spectrum

We’re often led to believe that intelligence is an objective measure. Sue Fletcher-Watson from the University of Edinburgh seeks to turn that framework on its head by exploring the social intelligence of people on the autism spectrum. In doing so, it aims to challenge how we think about autism, reframing it not as a disability but a difference.

Enhancing Emotional Intelligence by Harnessing the Power of Stereotype Boosts

How do stereotype biases influence emotional intelligence? By researching the impact of gender stereotypes on personal and professional relationships, this project will encourage us to foster emotional intelligence in ourselves and others.

Adapting Rational Choice to Cognitive Bounds: Improving Decisions Involving Tradeoffs

Most choices involve tradeoffs—and balancing pros and cons is not always a rational process. The more we learn about decision-making, the clearer it becomes that we need a richer understanding of the science behind it. Through rigorous research, this project aims to produce new insights that will help us make better choices.

The Karma Project: Diversity and Impact of Emergent Collective Intelligence and Consciousness

The human mind is a powerful phenomenon, and it becomes even more powerful when joined to others. Harvard University’s Karma Project is an innovative effort study to intelligence in communities — and the individuals in them. By researching communities across the globe, it aims to enable individual and communal flourishing.

Social and Moral Intelligence: How Do Animals Understand and Perceive the Rules of Social Life?

Wild animal populations teem with varieties of intelligence and intricate rituals. But we have only a nascent understanding of how they perceive their social interactions. Researchers at UCLA’s Lomas Barbudal Monkey Project will give new insights into the fascinating social intelligences across the animal kingdom.

Co-Evolution of Cognitive Processing, Social Behavior, and the Environment

Our minds weave intricate webs between one another. How has evolution shaped the phenomenon of the human mind, and how can understanding its complexities foster well-being? Yale University’s David Rand is using an innovative approach to explore the fascinating origins of our social intelligence.

Nest Building in Birds: A Case of Collaborative Intelligence?

Birds use tools and collaborate in fascinating ways. What can the way they build nests teach us about intelligence in the animal kingdom? Adopting a novel approach, Dr. Susan Healy from the University of St Andrews aims to shed light on the evolution of intelligence.

Understanding and Extending Human Metacognitive Intelligence

How do humans make decisions under time constraints? And how can artificial intelligence research help us improve our own cognitive strategies? By researching these questions, Dr. Tom Griffiths at UC Berkeley offers new insights into human metacognition.

Interdependence Promotes the Strengths of Employees from Working-Class Contexts

How can workplaces foster the strengths of employees from working-class backgrounds? Northwestern University professor Dr. Nicole Stephens is using an innovative approach to understand how the skills of diverse employees can complement and enrich each other.