Pierre Jacob’s blog

This blog is devoted to issues in the investigation of human social cognition.

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: ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 Profes...

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