The research group Human Evolution and Cognition was created in the year 2000 with the aim to study the philosophical, anthropological, psychological, psychopatological, paleontological and ethic aspects of human nature. Since then, studies have focused on the traits that differentiate Homo sapiens from other primate and non-primate species, especially in terms of aesthetic judgment, moral behaviour and language. In 2002, the team was awarded the distinction of Competitive Research Group by the Balearic Government. In 2004, as the next formal step of research excellence, the team received the prestigious Mention of Quality, awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science for the programme "Primates and the Origin of the Human". Collaborations with the IFISC (Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Physics and Complex Systems) have been put in place in the past years and in 2008 the group became an official associated member of the CSIC (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas), the Superior Council of Scientific Research in Spain, known for international research excellence.
The research group Human Evolution and Cognition has till date conducted a range of projects financed both by the Ministry of Education and Science as well as by the Balearic Government. Amongst these studies, two expeditions to Eastern Africa (Tanzania and Kenia) deserve particular attention. Their objective was the exciting study of the origins of culture. A part from the use of field studies, experimental research designs and psychophysiological measures, in the past years, the group has included neuroimageing techniques in their projects as promising tools in the quest for the essentially human – even on neural basis. Till date, fMRI and MEG studies have been carried out in order to identify brain activity associated with aesthetic perception. For instance, the project of R+D is a collaborative study between the research group Human Evolution and Cognition based in the University of the Balearic Islands and the private Hospital Clínica Rotger in Palma. It aims to study cerebral processes in schizophrenic patients and is receiving both public and private funding.