and two developmental psychologists (Solomon and Carey),
this monograph unites two literatures that make very different
tacit assumptions about the very nature of conceptual development.
Anthropologists focus on the cultural construction of
knowledge leads many of them (including Astuti) to expect radically
different conceptual understandings across cultures. In
contrast, some cognitive developmental investigators (including
Solomon and Carey) work to discover innate representational
constraints that channel cognitive development, thus expecting
cross–cultural universality in representations of the world.
The studies concern Malagasy children s and adults conceptual
representations of human and animal kind, biological
inheritance, innate potential and family relations. The Vezo of
Madagascar were chosen because the ethnographic literature
has attributed to them folkbiological and folksociological
theories that are radically different, even incommensurable,
with those of North American adults. Vezo therefore provide a
challenging test for the innate conceptual constraints hypothesis.
The results of the studies reported here have surprises
both for anthropological claims of cross–cultural differences
and psychological claims for cross–cultural universality.