Constraints on Conceptual Development. A Case Study of the Acquisition of Folkbiological and Folksociological Knowledge in Madagascar. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development

  • ID: 2249750
  • Book
  • Region: Madagascar
  • 165 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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The results of a collaboration between an anthropologist (Astuti)

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.
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Rita Astuti
Gregg Solomon
Susan Carey
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