The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition
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The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition. Some uniquely human abilities. language artifacts and technology social practices and institutions. playing hide-and-seek. attending a summer school. showing your vacation photos. Some uniquely human abilities.

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The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition


Some uniquely human abilities

Some uniquely human abilities

  • language

  • artifacts and technology

  • social practices and institutions


Some uniquely human abilities1

playing hide-and-seek

attending a summer school

showing your vacation photos

Some uniquely human abilities

holding open a door for someone

playing a duet

  • language

  • artifacts and technology

  • social practices and institutions

helping your kid with homework

driving in traffic

taking a walk together

pointing out interesting sights for others

co-authoring a paper

‘playing house’ with your kid

cooking dinner together

planning a party

playing cards

holding a ladder steady for someone

going on a date

meeting for lunch


The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

All involve sharing and collaboration.

Tomasello, Carpenter, Call, Behne, & Moll (2005)


The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

All involve sharing and collaboration.

We propose that the crucial difference between human cognition and that of other species is the ability to participate with others in collaborative activities with shared goals and intentions: shared intentionality.

Tomasello, Carpenter, Call, Behne, & Moll (2005)


The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

All involve sharing and collaboration.

We propose that the crucial difference between human cognition and that of other species is the ability to participate with others in collaborative activities with shared goals and intentions: shared intentionality.

Two components:

  • understanding of others’ goals and intentions

Tomasello, Carpenter, Call, Behne, & Moll (2005)


The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

All involve sharing and collaboration.

We propose that the crucial difference between human cognition and that of other species is the ability to participate with others in collaborative activities with shared goals and intentions: shared intentionality.

Two components:

  • understanding of others’ goals and intentions

  • motivation to share psychological states with others

Tomasello, Carpenter, Call, Behne, & Moll (2005)


The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

  • By 9-12 months, infants understand something about others’ goals and intentions.

  • Young children with autism and chimpanzees may have (at least) some understanding of others’ goals.

  • An understanding of others’ goals and intentions gives individuals a tremendous social advantage in terms of being able to explain and predict others’ behavior.

  • But neither is enough to explain some interesting aspects of human cognition.

  • In addition…


Sharing intentions

Sharing intentions


Understanding of others goals and intentions

GOAL

Decision-making

relevant skills,

knowledge

relevant

reality

INTENTION

state

of world

failure

success

accident

+ constraints

Action

Reality

Result

Understanding of others’ goals and intentions

Attention

Tomasello, Carpenter, Call, Behne, & Moll (2005)


The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

Sharing intentions

SHARED GOAL

SHARED GOAL

Joint Attention

Decision-Making

Decision-Making

relevant

reality

relevant skills,

knowledge

relevant

reality

relevant skills,

knowledge

JOINT INTENTION

JOINT INTENTION

Tomasello, Carpenter, Call, Behne, & Moll (2005)


The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

Sharing and coordinating psychological states

  • Motivation to share (joint emotions, attention, interest)

    • ‘primary intersubjectivity’

    • joint attention

    • declarative pointing

  • Collaboration (joint goals, intentions)

    • role reversal

    • helping

    • cooperation and collaborative activities


The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

Sharing and coordinating psychological states

  • Motivation to share (joint emotions, attention, interest)

    • ‘primary intersubjectivity’

    • joint attention

    • declarative pointing

  • Collaboration (joint goals, intentions)

    • role reversal

    • helping

    • cooperation and collaborative activities


Motivation to share in infants

Motivation to share in infants

  • Early proto-conversations (early infancy; sharing emotions) (e.g., work by Rochat & Striano, Stern, Trevarthen)


Motivation to share in infants1

Motivation to share in infants

  • Early proto-conversations (early infancy)

    (e.g., work by Rochat & Striano, Stern, Trevarthen)

  • Joint attention (by 9 months; sharing attention & interest; triadic) (e.g., work by Bakeman & Adamson, Tomasello, Trevarthen)


13 month old infant in joint attentional engagement

13-month-old infant in joint attentional engagement


Motivation to share in infants2

Motivation to share in infants

  • Early proto-conversations (early infancy)

    (e.g., work by Rochat & Striano, Stern, Trevarthen)

  • Joint attention (by 9 months)

    (e.g., work by Bakeman & Adamson, Tomasello, Trevarthen)

  • Declarative gestures

    (e.g., work by Bates, Bruner, Camaioni, Lempers, Tomasello)

    • shows (around 10 months)

    • points (around 12 months)


3 year old child pointing declaratively

3-year-old child pointing declaratively


Motivation to share in infants3

Motivation to share in infants

  • Early proto-conversations (early infancy)

    (e.g., work by Rochat & Striano, Stern, Trevarthen)

  • Joint attention (by 9 months)

    (e.g., work by Bakeman & Adamson, Tomasello, Trevarthen)

  • Declarative gestures

    (e.g., work by Bates, Bruner, Camaioni, Lempers, Tomasello)

    • shows (around 10 months)

    • points (around 12 months)

      • Moore: not sharing, just attention to self


The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

Liszkowski, Carpenter, Henning, Striano, & Tomasello (2004)

  • 12-month-olds

  • Toys were activated to elicit pointing. E reacted to infants’ points in one of four different ways:

    • Ignore

    • Look only to Event

    • Look only to Face

    • Joint Attention


The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

  • Infants were most satisfied in the Joint Attention condition:

    • in Joint Attention, they pointed more across trials

    • in the other conditions, within trials, they repeated points more often.

  • 12-month-olds point to share attention and interest.


Liszkowski carpenter tomasello in press

Liszkowski, Carpenter, & Tomasello (in press)

  • When E misunderstands the infant’s referent, even if E reacts with excitement, 12-month-old infants repeat their pointing. Infants’ pointing is thus about specific objects or events, not just to obtain an adult reaction. (also evidence of collaborative communication: message repair)


The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

Motivation to share in chimpanzees and children with autism

  • Early proto-conversations: no (?)

    (autism: e.g., work by Hobson)

    (chimpanzees: Tomonaga et al.)

  • Joint attention: no

    (autism: e.g., work by Carpenter, Charman, Dawson, Mundy, Wetherby)

    (chimpanzees: e.g., Bard & Vauclair, Tomasello & Carpenter)

  • Declarative gestures: no

    (autism: e.g., work by Baron-Cohen, Carpenter, Loveland, Mundy, Sigman)

    (chimpanzees: e.g., Gomez, Tomasello & Carpenter)


The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

Sharing and coordinating intentions

  • Motivation to share

    • ‘primary intersubjectivity’

    • joint attention

    • declarative pointing

  • Collaboration


The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

Collaboration

Bratman (1992):

  • shared goal: each participant has the goal that we (in mutual knowledge) do X together

  • coordination of plans/intentions. This requires that:

    • each participant understands both roles of the interaction (so can reverse roles if needed) and

    • each can help the other with his role if needed.


The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

Sharing and coordinating intentions

  • Motivation to share

    • ‘primary intersubjectivity’

    • joint attention

    • declarative pointing

  • Collaboration

    • role reversal

    • helping

    • cooperation and collaborative activities


The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

Carpenter, Tomasello, & Striano (2005);

Tomasello & Carpenter (2005)

  • 12- and 18-month-olds, children with autism, chimpanzees

  • E performed one role of an action and had S perform the other, e.g.,:

    • E hid a toy for S to find, or

    • E held out a plate for S to place a toy on it.

    • Test:E gave the object(s) for the other role to S and waited.

    • Does S perform E’s previous role (hiding or offering) toward E (while looking at her)?


    The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

    Hiding Task

    *

    p=.053

    • Infants sometimes reversed roles (hid the toy for E or held out the plate for her) and looked to E.

    • Children with autism and chimpanzees sometimes performed these actions but did so without looks to E.

      • They may have been reversing at an action, rather than a psychological level. (see also work by Hobson)

    Offering Task


    The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

    Sharing and coordinating intentions

    • Motivation to share

      • ‘primary intersubjectivity’

      • joint attention

      • declarative pointing

    • Collaboration

      • role reversal

      • helping (see also Kuhlmeier, Wynn, & Bloom, 2003)

      • cooperation and collaborative activities


    The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

    Liszkowski, Carpenter, Striano, & Tomasello (2006)

    • 12- and 18-month-olds

    • Infants watched E repeat an action (e.g., punching holes) with a target object.

    • The target and a distractor object were displaced.

    • E began looking around.


    The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

    • Infants pointed to help the adult by informing her about the location of the object she was looking for.


    The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

    Warneken & Tomasello (2006): 18-month-old infant


    The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

    Warneken & Tomasello (2006): nursery-reared chimpanzee


    Warneken tomasello 2006

    Warneken & Tomasello (2006)

    • 18-month-olds help instrumentally, in many different situations

    • chimpanzees: only when E reached

      • but other positive results for chimpanzees too

    • helping doesn’t necessarily involve a shared goal: understanding other’s individual goal is sufficient


    The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

    Sharing and coordinating intentions

    • Motivation to share

      • ‘primary intersubjectivity’

      • joint attention

      • declarative pointing

    • Collaboration

      • role reversal

      • helping

      • cooperation and collaborative activities


    The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

    Sharing and coordinating intentions

    • Motivation to share

      • ‘primary intersubjectivity’

      • joint attention

      • declarative pointing

    • Collaboration

      • role reversal

      • helping

      • cooperation and collaborative activities

        • communication (Clark, 1997; Golinkoff, 1993; Sperber & Wilson, 1986; Tomasello et al., 2005, submitted)


    The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

    Behne, Carpenter, & Tomasello (2005); Hare & Tomasello (2004)

    • 14- to 24-month-olds,

      chimpanzees

    • E hid a toy/food in one of

      two opaque containers.

    • E indicated the toy’s

      location by pointing or gazing

      ostensively at the correct

      container.


    The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

    Infants

    Chimpanzees

    • Infants pass this test.

    • Chimpanzees do not use cooperative/communicative (pointing) cues but do use competitive (reaching) ones.


    The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

    Sharing and coordinating intentions

    • Motivation to share

      • ‘primary intersubjectivity’

      • joint attention

      • declarative pointing

    • Collaboration

      • role reversal

      • helping

      • cooperation and collaborative activities

        • communication

        • instrumental


    The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

    Warneken, Chen, & Tomasello (2006); Liebal et al. (in prep.)

    tube with handles

    trampoline

    elevator

    double tube

    • 18- and 24-month-olds, chimpanzees (and children with autism)

    • Social and instrumental games

    • E1 & E2 demonstrate how to operate the apparatus.

    • E1 cooperates with the child to perform the joint activity.

    • E1 refrains from the activity for 15 seconds.


    The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

    Warneken, Chen, & Tomasello (2006)


    The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

    Warneken, Chen, & Tomasello (2006)


    The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

    • By 18 months, infantsare able to cooperate with an adult to achieve a joint goal.

      • When the adult stopped playing his role, children communicatively requested his continued participation.

      • New results: at least by 2 years, children do this even in tasks in which they could achieve the goal individually (Gräfenhein, Behne, Carpenter, & Tomasello, in prep.)

    • Chimpanzees (and children with autism) showed far less coordination of roles and no communicative requests for their partner’s continued participation.

      • Chimpanzees showed no interest in the social games.


    The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

    Sharing and coordinating intentions

    • Motivation to share

      • ‘primary intersubjectivity’

      • joint attention

      • declarative pointing

    • Collaboration

      • role reversal

      • helping

      • cooperation and collaborative activities

        • communication

        • instrumental

        • pretense


    Pretense

    Pretense

    • Pretend play is (probably) uniquely human.

    • It is often collaborative (shared goal, roles, etc.).

    • Some consider it to be the earliest form of true collective intentionality in infancy (Rakoczy, 2006).

    • It sets the stage for later collective beliefs (money, marriage, government…).


    Summary

    Summary

    • In addition to their understanding of others’ goals and intentions, infants demonstrate:

      • the motivation to share psychological states with others

        and

      • ability to cooperate and coordinate intentions with others.

    • Chimpanzees and children with autism do not show evidence of either of these additional motivations or abilities.


    Where does it come from

    Where does it come from?


    A sketchy phylogenetic hypothesis

    (a sketchy)Phylogenetic hypothesis

    • Primates are competitive. Humans in addition are cooperative – they evolved skills and motivations for collaborating.

    Tomasello, Carpenter, Call, Behne, & Moll (2005)


    A sketchy phylogenetic hypothesis1

    (a sketchy)Phylogenetic hypothesis

    • Primates are competitive. Humans in addition are cooperative – they evolved skills and motivations for collaborating.

    • How?

      • Individuals or groups who could collaborate more effectively had a selective advantage (more food, better shelter & protection, etc.).

    Tomasello, Carpenter, Call, Behne, & Moll (2005)


    A sketchy phylogenetic hypothesis2

    (a sketchy)Phylogenetic hypothesis

    • Primates are competitive. Humans in addition are cooperative – they evolved skills and motivations for collaborating.

    • How?

      • Individuals or groups who could collaborate more effectively had a selective advantage (more food, better shelter & protection, etc.).

    • The abilities to share and collaborate made language and other cultural learning and creation possible.

    Tomasello, Carpenter, Call, Behne, & Moll (2005)


    A sketchy phylogenetic hypothesis3

    (a sketchy)Phylogenetic hypothesis

    • Primates are competitive. Humans in addition are cooperative – they evolved skills and motivations for collaborating.

    • How?

      • Individuals or groups who could collaborate more effectively had a selective advantage (more food, better shelter & protection, etc.).

    • The abilities to share and collaborate made language and other cultural learning and creation possible.

    • Over cultural-historical time, repeated, habitual instances of sharing intentions resulted in social practices and institutions (e.g., marriage, money, government).

    Tomasello, Carpenter, Call, Behne, & Moll (2005)


    A sketchy ontogenetic hypothesis

    (a sketchy)Ontogenetic hypothesis

    • Two interweaving lines of development:

      • understanding of goals and intentions

      • motivation to share psychological states and activities

    Tomasello, Carpenter, Call, Behne, & Moll (2005)


    A sketchy ontogenetic hypothesis1

    (a sketchy)Ontogenetic hypothesis

    • Two interweaving lines of development:

      • understanding of goals and intentions

      • motivation to share psychological states and activities

    • The motivation to share transforms the understanding intentions line, resulting in shared collaborative activities.

    Tomasello, Carpenter, Call, Behne, & Moll (2005)


    The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

    Tomasello, Carpenter, Call, Behne, & Moll (2005)


    The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

    +

    Motivation to share

    Tomasello, Carpenter, Call, Behne, & Moll (2005)


    The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

    +

    Motivation to share

    =

    Tomasello, Carpenter, Call, Behne, & Moll (2005)


    The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

    Motivation to share

    Tomasello, Carpenter, Call, Behne, & Moll (2005)


    The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

    Motivation to share

    Tomasello, Carpenter, Call, Behne, & Moll (2005)


    The ontogeny and phylogeny of cultural cognition

    Tomasello & Carpenter (in press)


    Take home message

    Take-home message

    • What is unique about human cultural cognition is the motivation to share and the ability to collaborate.

    • The interaction of:

      • a biological adaptation

      • cultural-historical processes, and

      • individual development

        results in uniquely human abilities ranging from language to taking a walk together, all of which involve shared intentionality.


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