Outline of Tomasello and Call, ch. 7

Knowledge of the social world

Primates are perhaps most remarkable in connection with their social abilities. Humphreys (1976) argued that perhaps their general intelligence is in fact a by-product of their social intelligence.

Three ways social life adds to cognitive complexity

While organisms are physical objects, they are more than that -- they can be "agents" that makes dealing with them quite different than as objects.

Spontanous action reduces predictability

Social influence and control rather than physical manipulation

The problem of social learning

Specific topics

social knowledge and interaction

social strategies and communication

social learning and culture

theory of mind

methodology and terminology

conclusions largely based on observation

it is important to use consistent terms

T&C recommend the following:

"animate agents" --generate own behavior

"intentional agents" -- selectively attend & choose

"mental agents" --others have beliefs that determine behavior

Moreover these beliefs may be contrary to one's own or reality

Specific topics

social knowledge and interaction

Knowledge of individuals in one's social field.

Knowledge of individual's unique skills

Knowledge of rank and relationships

Reciprocity (food sharing, grooming)

cooperative problem solving (Austin & Sherman)

social strategies and communication


social communication

(human based code communication)

social learning and culture

theory of mind