Pierre Jacob

Can teleology explain why very young children help a mistaken agent?

3-year-olds fail to accurately predict where a mistaken agent is likely to look for her toy if they are explicitly asked to do so. However, preverbal infants (who are not asked anything in implicit tasks) have been widely shown to expect a mistaken agent to act in accordance with the content of her false belief (cf. Baillargeon et al., 2010 for review). This is the puzzle of the discrepant developmental findings. ...

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Could preschoolers learn to reason deductively?

Conceptual change or change of conception? One basic issue raised by the study of both the history of science and human ontogenetic cognitive development is that of conceptual change: when should a change be interpreted as a conceptual change rather than as a change of conception (or ...

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Why reading minds is not like reading words

Written by Brent Strickland and Pierre Jacob. In a recent review paper in Science (2014. 344-6190) entitled “The cultural evolution of mind reading,” Cecilia Heyes and Chris Frith argue that human children learn to read minds much like they learn to read words, via explicit verbal ...

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Another look at the two-systems model of mindreading

Apperly and Butterfill (2009) and Butterfill and Apperly (2013) have proposed a two-systems model of mindreading. According to this model, humans make use of two distinct psychological systems in mindreading tasks. The model rests on three related claims. First of all, the early-developing system, ...

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Do we use different tools to mindread a defendant and a goalkeeper?

Previously on cognitionandculture — Last year, Pierre Jacob posted a critical review of the so-called two-systems model of mindreading, according to which humans use two distinct mental tools to understand the thoughts of others: one is fast and automatic, the other is slower, more reflecti...

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Belief ascription in infants and children: the puzzle

In several recent papers on mindreading and belief-ascription, Ian Apperly and his colleagues have reported evidence suggesting that the process whereby human adults ascribe false beliefs to others is not automatic. They have further argued that efficiency and flexibility make competing and ...

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The scope of natural pedagogy theory (II): uniquely human?

This is the second post in a series of two installments by Pierre Jacob, dwelling on Gergely and Csibra's work on human communication. In Pierre's first post, we saw that these experiments show that, as suggested by relevance theory, human can detect communicative intentions quite early. ...

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The scope of natural pedagogy theory (I): babies

This is the first post in a series of two installments by Pierre Jacob, dwelling on Gergely and Csibra's work on human communication. According to Csibra and Gergely’s (2009) so-called “natural pedagogical” approach to the psychological bases of human culture, human infants ...

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Pierre Jacob reviews ‘Mothers and Others’, by Sarah B. Hrdy

Review of Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, Mothers and Others, the Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press (422 p.)   Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, a Professor Emerita of Anthropology at the University of California-Davis, has just published a wonderful ...

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