THE CULTURAL ORIGINS OF HUMAN COGNITION

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Harvard University Press, Jul 1, 2009 - Psychology - 256 pages
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Bridging the gap between evolutionary theory and cultural psychology, Michael Tomasello argues that the roots of the human capacity for symbol-based culture are based in a cluster of uniquely human cognitive capacities. These include capacities for understanding that others have intentions of their own, and for imitating, not just what someone else does, but what someone else has intended to do. Tomasello further describes with authority and ingenuity how these capacities work over evolutionary and historical time to create the kind of cultural artifacts and settings within which each new generation of children develops.
 

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The cultural origins of human cognition

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Homo sapiens has existed as a separate species for only a very short period of time on the evolutionary scale (six million years at most), and we share 99 percent of our DNA with our closest primate ... Read full review

Contents

1 a puzzle and a hypothesis
1
2 biological and cultural inheritance
13
3 joint attention and cultural learning
56
4 linguistic communication and symbolic representation
94
5 linguistic constructions and event cognition
134
6 discourse and representational redescription
161
7 cultural cognition
201
references
219
index
241
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About the author (2009)

Michael Tomasello is Co-Director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. He is the author of First Verbs and the coauthor of Primate Cognition.

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