Laurie Santos

Professor of Psychology
Head of Silliman College

Laurie Santos is a professor of psychology and head of Silliman College at Yale. Santos also serves as director of the Comparative Cognition Laboratory as well as the Canine Cognition Center. Professor Santos’ research explores an age-old question: what makes the human mind unique? Her research tests this question by studying the cognitive capacities of non-human animals. By comparing the cognitive abilities of non-human animals to those of humans, Santos can determine which domains of knowledge are unique to the human mind. Santos’ class “Psychology and the Good Life” is the most popular class in Yale’s history. 

Santos’s scientific research has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and The New Yorker, and has been featured on the History Channel and the television show Brain Games. She has also won numerous awards, both for her scientific achievements and for her teaching and mentorship. She is the recipient of the Stanton Prize from the Society for Philosophy and Psychology for outstanding contributions to interdisciplinary research. She was recently voted as one of Popular Science Magazine’s “Brilliant 10” young minds, and in Time magazine as a “Leading Campus Celebrity.”

Santos received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Biology from Harvard University in 1997 and her Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard in 2003.