[page 9 of WEEK 11 handout]

Tomasello, M. (2000). Primate cognition: Introduction to the issue. Cognitive Science, 24(3), 351- 361.

Abstract: I introduce the special issue by: (1) outlining something of the relationship between mainstream cognitive science and the study of nonhuman primate cognition; (2) providing a brief overview of the scientific study of primate cognition and how the papers of this special issue fit into that scientific paradigm; and (3) explicating my own views about the relationship between nonhuman primate cognition and human cognition.


Human cognition is a specific instance of primate cognition.

p351 “human cognition is thus not just similar to primate cognition, it is identical in many of its structures.” p. 351.

p 356.
TWO HYPOTHESES

Tomasello and Call (1997) argued that only primates form relational categories. Quote discrimination learning expts plus knowledge of social relationships. The evolutionary argument is that was relational categories developed to deal with social relationships, as in Humphrey (1976)

But humans are unique because they understand “intentionality in the social domain and causality in the physical domain.”

Following Vygotsky (1978) and other cultural psychologists, “what makes human cognition unique, more than anything else, is its collective nature.”


Thompson and Oden start with the following quotation from a book on sameness (1995) by RM French.

“I hope to have given you a better appreciation of our remarkable --- yet largely unconscious and virtually automatic --- ablity to perceive one place or object or situation, however vast or insignificant, as “the same” as some other. It is this subtle ability, perhaps more than any other, that sets human cognition apart from any other on our planet”

Povinelli Bering and Giambrone (2000) review the evidence that chimpanzees do not understand seeing as attention.