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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. Participation in such activities requires not only especially powerful forms of intention reading and cultural learning, but also a unique(More)
It is widely believed that what distinguishes the social cognition of humans from that of other animals is the belief-desire psychology of four-year-old children and adults (so-called theory of mind). We argue here that this is actually the second ontogenetic step in uniquely human social cognition. The first step is one year old children's understanding of(More)
When adults make a joint commitment to act together, they feel an obligation to their partner. In 2 studies, the authors investigated whether young children also understand joint commitments to act together. In the first study, when an adult orchestrated with the child a joint commitment to play a game together and then broke off from their joint activity,(More)
The influence of culture on cognitive development is well established for school age and older children. But almost nothing is known about how different parenting and socialization practices in different cultures affect infants' and young children's earliest emerging cognitive and social-cognitive skills. In the current monograph, we report a series of(More)
Infants experienced a female adult handling them toys. Sometimes, however, the transaction failed, either because the adult was in various ways unwilling to give the toy (e.g., she teased the child with it or played with it herself) or else because she was unable to give it (e.g., she accidentally dropped it). Infants at 9, 12, and 18 months of age reacted(More)
We investigated whether 1-year-old infants use their shared experience with an adult to determine the meaning of a pointing gesture. In the first study, after two adults had each shared a different activity with the infant, one of the adults pointed to a target object. Eighteen- but not 14-month-olds responded appropriately to the pointing gesture based on(More)
This study explored infants' ability to infer communicative intent as expressed in non-linguistic gestures. Sixty children aged 14, 18 and 24 months participated. In the context of a hiding game, an adult indicated for the child the location of a hidden toy by giving a communicative cue: either pointing or ostensive gazing toward the container containing(More)
This study explored whether infants aged 12 months already recognize the communicative function of pointing gestures. Infants participated in a task requiring them to comprehend an adult's informative pointing gesture to the location of a hidden toy. They mostly succeeded in this task, which required them to infer that the adult was attempting to direct(More)
An important problem faced by children is discriminating between entities capable of goal-directed action, i.e. intentional agents, and non-agents. In the case of discriminating between living and dead animals, including humans, this problem is particularly difficult, because of the large number of perceptual cues that living and dead animals share.(More)
Despite its importance in the development of children's skills of social cognition and communication, very little is known about the ontogenetic origins of the pointing gesture. We report a training study in which mothers gave children one month of extra daily experience with pointing as compared with a control group who had extra experience with musical(More)