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December 2021

Culture and cognitive development

Journal/Book: Curr Directions Psychol Sci. 2000; 9: 40 West 20Th Street, New York, NY 10011-4211, USA. Cambridge Univ Press. 37-40.

Abstract: Human beings are biologically adapted for culture in ways that other primates are not. The difference can be clearly seen when the social learning skills of human and their nearest primate relatives are systematically compared. The human adaptation for culture begins to make itself manifest in human ontogeny at around 1 year of age as human infants come to understand other persons as intentional agents like the self and so engage in joint attentional interactions with them. This understanding then enables young children (a) to employ some uniquely powerful forms of cultural learning to acquire the accumulated wisdom of their cultures, especially as embodied in language, and also (b) to comprehend their worlds in some uniquely powerful ways involving perspectivally based symbolic representations.

Note: Article Tomasello M, Max Planck Inst Evolutionary Anthropol, Inselstr 22, D-04103 Leipzig, GERMANY

Keyword(s): culture; cognition; human evolution; language; joint attention; 18-MONTH-OLD


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