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The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition

The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition [Kindle Edition]

Michael Tomasello

Kindle-Preis: EUR 15,04 Inkl. MwSt. und kostenloser drahtloser Lieferung über Amazon Whispernet

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well-articulated account of the ontogeny of cultural learning, which challenges alternative accounts from the vantage point of extensive research.


Ambitious and elegant, this book builds a bridge between evolutionary theory and cultural psychology. Michael Tomasello is one of the very few people to have done systematic research on the cognitive capacities of both nonhuman primates and human children. The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition identifies what the differences are, and suggests where they might have come from.

Tomasello argues that the roots of the human capacity for symbol-based culture, and the kind of psychological development that takes place within it, are based in a cluster of uniquely human cognitive capacities that emerge early in human ontogeny. These include capacities for sharing attention with other persons; 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. In his discussions of language, symbolic representation, and cognitive development, Tomasello describes with authority and ingenuity the "ratchet effect" of these capacities working over evolutionary and historical time to create the kind of cultural artifacts and settings within which each new generation of children develops. He also proposes a novel hypothesis, based on processes of social cognition and cultural evolution, about what makes the cognitive representations of humans different from those of other primates.

Lucid, erudite, and passionate, The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition will be essential reading for developmental psychology, animal behavior, and cultural psychology.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 2291 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 256 Seiten
  • Verlag: Harvard University Press (1. April 2001)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
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  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #326.228 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.5 von 5 Sternen  8 Rezensionen
27 von 31 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen The Essential Ingredient 25. September 2002
Von Stanley R. Palombo - Veröffentlicht auf
This is the best account of cognitive development in human beings I've read, and as a psychoanalyst I've read quite a few. Tomasello focuses on the essential difference between human children and our closest relatives among the great apes. This is the ability to imagine that another creature has a mind with intentions and with plans to fulfill those intentions. From this capability follows the human infant's unique capacity to track the behavior of adults and to reconstruct their thoughts and intentions from their observed actions. Apes can make accurate predictions by watching what other apes do. They can emulate those actions in a general way, but they cannot imagine what the other ape is trying to do, or that there might in fact be other ways of doing whatever that is. As Tomasello shows, without a model of the other creature's intentions,it is impossible to appreciate and imitate the fine details of his actions. It is also impossible to build a cumulative model that relates one set of actions with another to form a larger scheme of mental activity.
Tomasello shows how the entire structure of shared ideas and artifacts that we call culture rests on this uniquely human cogitive achievement. His descriptions of the steps and stages in the evolving interaction between the child and its caretakers make this progressive development crystal clear. His account of languge acquisition is unusually good. He shows, for example, that words do not simply label objects but identify them through the particular aspects they display in a variety of meaningful contexts. Language introduces perspective, allowing the infant to see the world without the exclusive bias of his own immediate needs.
Tomasello's writing doesn't waste any words, but maintains a tone of empathy and understanding that makes the book a pleasure to read. I think it will prove invaluable to any educator or clinician concerned with understanding the receptivity to learning of either children or adults.
13 von 17 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Convincing and provocative work 11. Juni 2001
Von B. M. Still - Veröffentlicht auf
Tomasello's work convincingly elucidates the roles of attention and intention discovery amongst infants in the acquisition of language. He enables us to dispense with ideas of linguistic modules, of "innateness" with respect to human speech acquisition. The key, in his thesis, is the human awareness of intention, and it's the emergence of this in infants at around 9 months which provides the basis for language comprehension (ultimately). A very enjoyable and persuasive text - strongly recommended to anyone interested in the origins of human language (on a species and individual basis).
10 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Cutting-edge evolutionary psychology 10. Februar 2005
Von Ambulocetus - Veröffentlicht auf
This book is marvellous, and is now being used in more recent work on the evolutionary origins of language and social institutions. Tomasello has done an enormous amount of empirical research to support his points, and also has a good theory background (Vygotsky's ideas on the social nature of learning, for example). More recent work in this field often either uses Tomasello's work or parallels his ideas--see for example Terrence W. Deacon's book The Symbolic Species or Greenspan and Shanker's book The First Idea. Tomasello's book does an excellent job of debunking older ideas that the human mind MUST be hardwired for language and other aspects of culture (e.g., Stephen Mithen's ideas of cognitive modules in the phylogenesis of religion). A splendid book, and not difficult at all to read.
1 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A brilliant and exciting hypothesis 2. August 2010
Von Book Babe - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Tomasello's positing of a "ratchet effect" in human cultural learning is an elegant and convincing explanation of the speed with which the human ape outdistanced competitors in such a short period of time. A very exciting and enlightening book.
5.0 von 5 Sternen Five Stars 4. August 2014
Von José Monserrat Neto - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
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This biological mechanism is social or cultural transmission, which works on time scales many orders of magnitude faster than those of organic evolution. &quote;
Markiert von 8 Kindle-Nutzern
The process of cumulative cultural evolution requires not only creative invention but also, and just as importantly, faithful social transmission that can work as a ratchet to prevent slippage backward-so &quote;
Markiert von 6 Kindle-Nutzern
tools point to the problems they are designed to solve and linguistic symbols point to the communicative situations they are designed to represent. &quote;
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