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Reinterpreting behavior: A human specialization?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 October 2005

Daniel J. Povinelli
Affiliation:
Cognitive Evolution Group, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, New Iberia, LA 70560 ceg@louisiana.edu http://www.cognitiveevolutiongroup.org/
Jochen Barth
Affiliation:
Cognitive Evolution Group, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, New Iberia, LA 70560 ceg@louisiana.edu http://www.cognitiveevolutiongroup.org/

Abstract

Tomasello et al. argue that the “small difference that made a big difference” in the evolution of the human mind was the disposition to share intentions. Chimpanzees are said to understand certain mental states (like intentions), but not share them. We argue that an alternative model is better supported by the data: the capacity to represent mental states (and other unobservable phenomena) is a human specialization that co-evolved with natural language.

Type
Open Peer Commentary
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2005

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