Scientific program

Thursday, January 4
8:30-10:00 Tobii Pro Workshop 1
Setting up combined eye-tracking and EEG
10:15-11:45 Tobii Pro Workshop 2
Analyzing co-registered eye-tracking and EEG data
12:45-13:00 BCCCD 2018 Welcome
13:00-14:30 REGULAR SYMPOSIUM 1.
New directions in studying trust in infants and young children

  • Infants’ selective imitation of a transitive and an intransitive agent
    Yuyan Luo, Q. Willin Weng
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    Yuyan Luo, Q. Willin Weng
    University of Missouri, USA

    By definition, trust (the belief that others can be relied upon) depends on others’ reliability, e.g., if they are predictably knowledgeable to learn from. Recent efforts to examine selective trust in infancy use imitation tasks (e.g., if infants choose to copy an agent’s unusual action of using her forehead to activate a lightbox). For instance, infants are less likely to imitate an agent if he first used artifacts in unconventional ways or gave wrong labels to familiar objects. In real life, however, people do not always behave in such obvious defiance of social conventions or expectations. Deciding whether to trust someone requires judging their reliability based solely on the predictability of their behavior. We thus used 16-month-olds’ ability to judge the transitivity of others’ choices and hypothesized that after seeing a person make transitive choices, infants should decide that her behavior is predictable because her choices conform to logic and hence trust her. In the study, after seeing an agent’s choices among objects (A>B, B>C, A>C), infants then watched her demonstrate the head-touch actions on the lightbox. A majority of infants then used their head to touch it, suggesting their trust in the transitive agent’s ways of acting on artifacts. Conversely, when the agent chose intransitively (A>B, B>C, C>A), infants were more likely to use their hand to touch the lightbox, showing their distrust. These and control results thus demonstrate how the predictability of an agent’s behavior (i.e., making transitive or intransitive choices) affects infants’ trust in the agent.
  • Shared-language cue in modulating epistemic trust in 4-year-old children: an over-imitation study
    Nazli Altinok, Mikolaj Hernik, Ildikó Király, György Gergely
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    Nazli Altinok1, Mikolaj Hernik1, Ildikó Király1,2, György Gergely1
    1Central European University, Hungary;2ELTE, Hungary

    We propose that shared-language signals informant’s reliability in her potential to offer relevant information. We hypothesize that cognitively opaque action strategies, which involve performing a sequence of irrelevant actions followed by a single relevant and efficient instrumental action, will be acquired and retained better when presented ostensively by demonstrators who are perceived as belonging to the children’s own social group and as such are evaluated as reliable epistemic sources. In contrast, we predict that children should be more resistant to accept counterevidence even if it consists of an ostensively demonstrated and more efficient alternative, when it originates from foreign-language speakers. To test this we employed an over-imitation paradigm by Hoehl et al. (2014) with 4-year-olds. Participants first saw an agent who demonstrated how to retrieve a sticker from a novel apparatus inefficiently (by ostensively performing a series of superfluous actions before presenting the relevant action). Subsequently, they saw a second demonstrator retrieving a sticker from the same apparatus efficiently (by ostensively performing the relevant-action only). Participants had their turn on the apparatus following each demonstration. For half of them the first demonstrator was a speaker of their native language and the second demonstrator was a foreign-language speaker, and vice-versa for the other half. We found that children corrected their inefficient strategy acquired from a foreigner after viewing the efficient demonstration from a native-language-speaker, but persisted in inefficient strategy acquired from the native-language-speaker despite efficient counterevidence provided by the foreigner. This finding demonstrates that shared-language cue modulates 4-year-old children’s over-imitative behaviors.
  • Does race affect children’s trust in others?
    Lori Markson, Hyesung Grace Hwang, Taylor Bird McGuire
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    Lori Markson, Hyesung Grace Hwang, Taylor Bird McGuire
    Washington University in St Louis, USA

    Intergroup bias – a preference for individuals who are like me and distrust of others who are not like me – emerges in early childhood. It is unclear how race influences the development of children’s trust in others. Children do appear to be more trusting of information conveyed by in-group over out-group members (Chen, Corriveau, & Harris, 2013). They are also more likely to delay gratification for a trustworthy adult over an untrustworthy one (Michaelson & Munakata, 2016). The current study investigated 3- to 6-year-old Black and White children’s trust in people of the same or a different race. Children were recruited from racially homogeneous preschools where the majority of the children matched the race of the child (Black or White). In a delayed gratification task, children were given a marshmallow and instructed to wait and not eat it by a White or Black experimenter the child had never met. The results were striking: Black children’s waiting time was not affected by the experimenter’s race (Mwhite = 420.10s (112.527); Mblack = 407.85s (105.193); t(21) = -.079, p = .938). However, White children waited significantly longer for a White experimenter (Mwhite = 833.13s (46.165) compared to a Black experimenter (Mblack = 499.56s (89.724); t(15) = -3.180, p = .006). The findings suggest that White American children’s trust across race differs from that of Black American children. Data collection from children in racially integrated schools is near completion, which will allow us to compare how exposure to diversity affects children’s trust in others.
  • A model’s age and competence influence children’s attribution of false beliefs
    Norbert Zmyj, Sabine Seehagen
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    Norbert Zmyj1, Sabine Seehagen2
    1TU Dortmund University, Germany,2University of Waikato, New Zealand

    People differ in the knowledge of facts and children are aware of these differences. For example, children perceive adults as more knowledgeable than peers. We tested whether these preconceptions influence preschoolers’ attributions of false beliefs. In Experiment 1, 4- and 5-year-olds watched videos showing a peer or an adult protagonist experiencing events that should lead the protagonist to hold a false belief. Then, children were asked to infer the protagonist’s perception of the situation. Four- but not 5-year-old children were more likely to judge that the peer protagonist held a false belief than the adult protagonist would. This suggests that 4-year-old children’s tendency to regard adults as experts in general knowledge undermined their ability to judge accurately the possibility that an adult could hold a false belief. In Experiment 2, we tested whether 4.5-year-olds’ attribution of false beliefs is influenced by a person’s previously demonstrated competence. The children watched two protagonists who labeled familiar objects either correctly or incorrectly. Subsequently, these protagonists labeled novel objects differently and it was tested whether children trusted the competent protagonist more than the incompetent protagonist. Finally, one of the protagonists experienced a situation in which it was reasonable to attribute a false belief to this protagonist. Children were more likely to identify a false belief in the incompetent protagonist, compared to the competent protagonist. The experiments suggest that children’s false-belief understanding is susceptible to situational influences and thus challenges the view of false-belief understanding appearing in a stage-like manner.
14:30-16:30 POSTER SESSION A
(with coffee & snacks)
16:30-17:30 PAPER SESSION 1.

  • Social predispositions for animate motion and their neural correlates in a visually naive animal model
    Orsola Rosa-Salva
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    Orsola Rosa-Salva
    CIMeC, University of Trento, Italy

    Similar inborn predispositions to attend to visual features distinctive of animate agents are shared between newborn babies, other primates, and even visually naive domestic chicks. Chicks’ preferences are elicited by features such as face-like patterns, self-initiated or semi-rigid motion (determined by the skeletal structure of legged vertebrates). Here we demonstrate that naive chicks are attracted by other elementary motion properties that reveal an internal energy source to the moving object (self propulsion) and elicit the perception of animacy in human observers. Newly-hatched chicks preferentially approached a stimulus that spontaneously accelerates and then decelerates over another that moved constantly at the same average speed. Increasing the complexity of movement of the control stimulus did not alter chicks’ preference, which was abolished only by occluding the speed-change events. Chicks also have a preference for objects keeping their body axis aligned to their trajectory, a feature typical of the motion of bilateria (due to the constraints posed by their body-plan) and associated with animacy perception in human observers. Using the immediate early gene product c-Fos as a neuronal activity marker, we also demonstrated that areas controlling social behaviour in adult vertebrates already respond to the first exposure to visual cues associated with animate motion. Differential activation was found in septum, preoptic area and in amygdaloid nuclei of naive chicks exposed either to the naturalistic motion of a conspecific or to a simple object changing its motion speed, but not to rigid or constant motion.
  • Object-tracking at ten months: the role of dynamic information
    Gisella Decarli, Manuela Piazza, Laura Franchin, Luca Surian
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    Gisella Decarli1, Manuela Piazza2, Laura Franchin1, Luca Surian1
    1Department of Psychology and Cognitive Sciences, University of Trento, Italy;2Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento, Italy

    In this study we investigated an attentional indexing system involved in individuation and identification tasks (Leslie et al., 1998; Kaldy & Leslie, 2003). According to Leslie and colleagues, to understand the development of object tracking in infants we need to rely on the distinction between ‘where’ and ‘what’ system; the first one treats locational information and appears early in infants’ development, while the second one is related to featural information (e.g. shape) and it is not completely connected to the object indexing system until 12 months. However, this model doesn’t explain some results obtained with younger infants, e.g. 10-month olds can rely on humanlike features to individuate different objects (Bonatti et al., 2002; Surian & Caldi, 2010). Here, we use the violation of expectancy to test the hypothesis that young infants assign distinct object files based only on dynamic information. In this study 10-month old infants observed a complex individuation task in which two objects alternately emerged from behind a screen; one of them was ‘agent’ object with an autonomous movement, while the other was ‘inert’ object. The objects differed only for the type of motion and were identical with respect to all the other features. Then the screen was removed, showing either one object or two objects. Infants looked significantly longer at the one-object test events. These data support the idea that infants younger than 12 months rely on dynamic information to individuate objects and do not easily bind non-dynamic information in their object files.
  • What entities do infants endow with moral rights?
    Fransisca Ting, Reneé Baillargeon
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    Fransisca Ting, Reneé Baillargeon
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

    How do infants determine what entities have moral rights? Building on prior findings, one possible hypothesis is that infants endow animate entities with moral rights. In the present study, 14-month-olds watched a human experimenter divide windfall resources between two novel entities: boxes that were first shown to be animate (i.e., both self-propelled and agentive), only self-propelled, or only agentive. These boxes bore no morphological resemblance to humans or to non-human animals and did not speak a human language. Of interest was whether infants would expect a fair distribution when the entities were animate, but would hold no particular expectation when the entities were only self-propelled or only agentive. Infants first received two familiarization trials. In the animate condition, the two boxes moved (self-propulsion) then beeped at each other in a contingent manner, as though having a conversation (agency). In the self-propelled condition, only one box moved and beeped in each trial, so that its beeps now appeared random. In the agentive condition, the boxes held a conversation but never moved. In all conditions, infants next saw two test events (order counterbalanced) in which a human experimenter divided toys either fairly or unfairly between the boxes. Infants in the animate condition looked significantly longer at the unfair than at the fair event, whereas infants in the self-propelled and agentive conditions looked equally at the events. These results indicate that by 14 months, infants endow novel animate entities with moral rights, including the right to a fair share of a windfall resource.
17:30-18:45 INVITED LECTURE 1
  • The Resilience of Language and Gesture
    Susan Goldin-Meadow
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    Susan Goldin-Meadow
    University of Chicago, USArn

    Imagine a child who has never seen or heard any language at all. Would such a child be able to invent a language on her own? Despite what one might guess, the answer to this question is "yes". I have studied children who are congenitally deaf and cannot learn the spoken language that surrounds them. In addition, these children have not yet been exposed to sign language, either by their hearing parents or their oral schools. Nevertheless, the children use their hands to communicate––they gesture––and those gestures take on many of the forms and functions of language. The properties of language that we find in the deaf children's gestures are just those properties that do not need to be handed down from generation to generation, but rather can be reinvented by a child de novo. They are the resilient properties of language, properties that all children, deaf or hearing, come to language-learning ready to develop.rnIn contrast to these deaf children who are inventing a language with their hands, hearing children are learning language from a linguistic model. But they too produce gestures. Indeed, all speakers gesture when they talk. These gestures are associated with learning, they can index moments of cognitive instability, and they reflect thoughts not yet found in speech. Indeed, these gestures can do more than just reflect learning––they can be involved in the learning process itself. Encouraging children to gesture not only brings out ideas that the children were not able to express prior to gesturing, but can also teach children new ideas not found anywhere in their repertoire, either spoken or gestured. Gesture is versatile in form and function. Under certain circumstances, gesture can substitute for speech, and when it does, it embodies the resilient properties of language. Under other circumstances, gesture can form a fully integrated system with speech. When it does, it both predicts and promotes learning.
19:30 Group photo
Friday, January 5
9:00-10:00 PAPER SESSION 2
Causal learning

  • Developmental differences in active causal learning across preschool age reveal different hypothesis-space structures
    Angela Jones, Doug Markant, Thorsten Pachur, Alison Gopnik, Azzurra Ruggeri
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    Angela Jones1, Doug Markant2, Thorsten Pachur1, Alison Gopnik3, Azzurra Ruggeri1
    1Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany;2University of North Carolina, Charlotte, USA;3University of California, Berkeley, USA

    What is this patient’s diagnosis? To navigate in a world of uncertainty, we have to learn how to make accurate predictions based on previous evidence. To do this, we first have to infer the causal relationship between certain cues (e.g., symptoms) and the observed outcome (e.g., disease). Sometimes we have the opportunity to actively manipulate cues to generate the evidence needed to efficiently infer the causal structure of a system. In this paper we explore the early development of this ability, by investigating how 5- and 6-year-olds select which evidence to observe when learning the causal structure of a system to make accurate predictions. In our task, preschoolers decide which monster pairs to see running in a race, to learn how two cues (color and shape) predict relative speed and later bet on the winning monsters. We use computational modeling techniques to infer from children’s decisions how their hypothesis-space is structured. We find that 6-year-olds’ decisions and performance are better predicted by a model in which the hypothesis-space is organized hierarchically by abstracting cue structure, and encoding cue direction and order (cue-based model). However, 5-year-olds’ decisions are better fit by a model in which the relative speed of individual monsters is encoded, without abstracting cue relationships (combination-based model). Our results suggest that developmental changes in active causal learning may reflect different hypothesis-space representations. We are currently testing 7-year-olds in order to further explore this developmental progression.
  • The developmental and evolutionary origins of inferring unseen causal structures
    Zeynep Civelek, Josep Call, Amanda Seed
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    Zeynep Civelek, Josep Call, Amanda Seed
    School of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of St Andrews, UK

    One route to exploiting causality is through theorizing about the relations between events. It has been argued that children can do this from an early age, but whether or not nonhuman primates can go beyond associative learning when exploiting causality is controversial (Penn & Povinelli, 2007). However, children learn about causal structures through explicit teaching too and language has been shown to scaffold their abilities (Bonawitz et al., 2010; Butler & Markman 2012). We aimed to examine reasoning in the absence of causal language cues to enable a direct comparison between children and other primates. Pre-school children (N= 129) and chimpanzees (N= 11) were presented with an event in which a reward was dropped through a forked tube into one of the two cups. Subjects needed to learn to use an auditory cue to locate the reward. In the causal condition, the cue followed the dropping event, making it plausible that the sound was caused by the reward falling into the cups; and in the arbitrary condition, the cue preceded the dropping event, making the relation arbitrary. It was hypothesized that subjects would perform better in the causal than in the arbitrary condition if they could reason about the causal structure. By four years of age children performed significantly better in the causal condition than the arbitrary one; whereas chimpanzees performed at chance level in both conditions. The findings suggested a difference between preschool children and chimpanzees when dealing with unseen causes even without verbal prompting.
  • Causality influences children’s perception of temporal order
    Emma C Tecwyn, Christos Bechlivanidis, Teresa McCormack, Sara Lorimer, Emma Blakey, David A Lagnado, Christoph Hoerl, Marc J Buehner
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    Emma C Tecwyn1, Christos Bechlivanidis2, Teresa McCormack3, Sara Lorimer3, Emma Blakey4, David A Lagnado2, Christoph Hoerl5, Marc J Buehner1
    1Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK;2University College London, London, UK;3Queens University Belfast, Belfast, UK;4The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK;5University of Warwick, Coventry, UK

    While it has long been known that time is a cue to causation (e.g. temporal priority and contiguity principles), recent work with adults has demonstrated that causality also influences our experience of time. If event A is believed to cause event B, then even if in fact event B occurs before event A, adults report the causally consistent order of events (AB), rather than the correct, temporally objective order (BA): the causal reordering phenomenon (Bechlivanidis & Lagnado, 2016). In this study we investigated, for the first time, whether children’s perception of temporal order is influenced by causality. Elucidating the developmental trajectory of causal reordering has potential to enhance our understanding of both temporal and causal cognition. Participants (4-6 year-olds, N=77; 6-8 year-olds, N=97; 8-10 year-olds, N=89; and adults, N=42) either saw a 3-object Michotte-style ‘pseudocollison’ test clip, or a 2-object control clip. In the test clip, object A moved towards object B, but upon making contact with it, object C moved then object B moved (ACB).The control clip was identical, except for object A was omitted, so C moved then B moved (CB). For all age groups, participants were less likely to report the correct temporal order of events, and more likely to incorrectly report contact between objects B and C in the test clip than the control clip (Chi-square tests, p<0.01 for all). These findings provide the first evidence that children’s temporal order judgements are – like adults’ – influenced by causality.
10:00-10:30 COFFEE BREAK
The development of body representation: from infant cortical responses to children localisation abilities

  • How do bodies become special? The emergence of body-related cortical processing in the first 14 months of life
    Silvia Rigato, Helge Gillmeister
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    Silvia Rigato, Helge Gillmeister
    University of Essex, UK

    There is general consensus that the representation of the human face becomes functionally specialised within the first few months of an infant’s life. The literature is divided, however, on the question whether the specialised representation of the remainder of the human body form follows a similarly rapid trajectory or emerges more slowly and in line with domain-general learning mechanisms. This study investigates visual ERPs in infants (P1, N290, P400, and Nc) of three age groups (3.5, 10, and 14 months) to track the emergence of face- and body-structural encoding. Our findings show that visual ERPs were absent (P1, N290, P400) or smaller (Nc) for bodies than for faces at 3.5 months and peaked later (N290, P400) for bodies than for faces at older ages. Inversion effects for bodies were not reliably found until 14 months (P400 amplitudes). In contrast, inversion effects for faces were present from 3.5 months (N290 latencies). Inverted faces produced an adult-like pattern for P400 at older ages (enhanced P400 amplitudes from 10 months, longer P400 latencies from 14 months), emphasising the role of P400 as the precursor of the adult N170. Importantly, our findings argue that structural encoding of the human body form emerges later in infancy and is qualitatively different from the structural encoding for faces. This is commensurate with infant motor development and the experience of viewing complete body shapes later than faces.
  • Cortical signatures of vicarious tactile experience in four-month-old infants
    Andrew J Bremner, Michael J Banissy, Silvia Rigato
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    Andrew J Bremner1, Michael J Banissy1, Silvia Rigato2
    1Goldsmiths, University of London, UK,2University of Essex, UK

    The human brain recruits similar brain regions when a state is experienced (e.g., touch, pain, actions) and when that state is passively observed in other individuals. In adults, seeing other people being touched activates similar brain areas as when we experience touch ourselves. Here we show that already by four months of age, cortical responses to tactile stimulation are modulated by visual information specifying another person being touched. We recorded somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) in 4-month-old infants while they were presented with brief vibrotactile stimuli to the hands. At the same time that the tactile stimuli were presented the infants observed another person’s hand being touched by a soft paintbrush or approached by the paintbrush which then touched the surface next to their hand. A prominent positive peak in SEPs contralateral to the site of tactile stimulation around 130 ms after the tactile stimulus onset was of a significantly larger amplitude for the “Surface” trials than for the “Hand” trials. These findings indicate that, even at four months of age, somatosensory cortex is not only involved in the personal experience of touch but can also be vicariously recruited by seeing other people being touched.
  • Within and outside the developing body
    Maria Laura Filippetti, Aikaterini Fotopoulou
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    Maria Laura Filippetti1, Aikaterini Fotopoulou2
    1University of Essex, UK;2University College London, UK

    The ability to integrate signals arising from within and outside the body is fundamental for the experience of one’s own body as belonging to oneself. Recently, the adult research has shown the fundamental relationship between interoceptive and exteroceptive sensory cues for body awareness, suggesting that own-body perception results from the dynamic interplay between these signals. Nonetheless, while extensive evidence supports the presence of some implicit exteroceptively-driven body perception in infancy, fundamental questions remain about the development and acquisition of sensitivity to internal bodily signals. The present study aimed to investigate whether external manipulations of interoceptive signals can influence proprioceptive hand localisation abilities in children. Multisensory mechanisms for own-hand perception (using the classic RHI) have been shown to develop to adult levels by 10 years of age, suggesting that visual information about the hand (i.e. visual capture) seems to be the strongest cue to body location in younger children. In this study we decreased visual-proprioceptive integration by prompting children with intero-proprioceptive signals (CT-optimal touch) about their hand position, whilst they were watching a realistic rubber hand. We show that, in contrast to adults, prolonged CT-optimal affective stroking of the real hand in children interferes with visual-proprioceptive integration of the visual location of the rubber hand and the proprioceptive location on the own hand. These findings reinforce the proposal that the ability to become aware of our body develops gradually in childhood and further suggest that the ability to integrate intero-proprioceptive signals might follow a similar late-developing pattern.
12:00-13:00 LUNCH Restaurants around
Comparative approaches to socio-cognitive development

  • Developmental shifts in monkey social attention
    Alexandra Rosati
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    Alexandra Rosati
    University of Michigan, USA

    Gaze following, or co-orienting with others, is a critical social-cognitive capacity allowing individuals to acquire information about their social and physical environment. This is a foundational social skill in human ontogeny, but little is known about its emergence and development in other species. Studies of other primates can provide insight into the origins and biological function of these psychological abilities in humans. I will discuss work examining age-related changes in the social cognition of two closely related species that vary in social style: rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) are characterized by steep dominance hierarchies and aggression, whereas Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) display more tolerant and affiliative interactions. In comparisons of semi-free-ranging macaque populations with wide variation in age, both species follow gaze to a distant target more in test trials where an actor looked up compared to control trials. However, these species differ in their ontogenetic trajectories. In rhesus macaques, gaze following emerges during infancy, peaks in the juvenile period, and then declines with age—similar to patterns seen humans. In contrast, tolerant Barbary macaques maintained high levels of social attention even through old age. This indicates that developmental patterns of social attention vary with tolerant social systems across primates. Together, this work demonstrates that comparative studies of cognitive development and aging in other primates can provide new insights into the evolutionary processes shaping human cognition.
  • Ownership from a comparative, cross-cultural, and developmental perspective
    Patricia Kanngiesser, Federico Rossano, Ramona Frickel, Anne Tomm, Daniel Haun, Henriette Zeidler, Michael Tomasello
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    Patricia Kanngiesser1, Federico Rossano2, Ramona Frickel3, Anne Tomm3, Daniel Haun4, Henriette Zeidler3, Michael Tomasello3
    1Freie Universität Berlin, Germany;2University of California San Diego, USA, ;3Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany;4Universität Leipzig, Germany

    Ownership is based on cooperative agreements between individuals: individuals inhibit their tendency to take others’ property if those others will do the same. Owners can thus trust others to respect their property – even in the owner’s absence. We investigated in three studies (i) whether ownership is specific to humans as compared with other apes, and (ii) whether cooperative agreements of ownership are universal in children from diverse human societies. In study 1, we found that dyads of chimpanzees and bonobos did not respect their partner’s ownership of food resources and instead maximized their own outcomes. In study 2, we found that dyads of German four-year-olds respected their partner’s ownership almost completely. In study 3, we showed that dyads of five- to seven-year-old children from three non-Western societies with few personal possessions respected their partner’s ownership – though somewhat less than German children. Respect for ownership thus seems to be uniquely human and, at least to some degree, universal in humans. These findings cast doubt on claims that humans share with other animals an evolved predisposition for ownership. We suggest that apes and other animals have a notion of possession (i.e., of things under their immediate physical control), but that only humans have the social and cognitive prerequisites to develop and sustain cooperative ownership agreements.
  • Maternal socialization of early helping behavior in different cultural contexts
    Moritz Köster, Joscha Kärtner
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    Moritz Köster1, Joscha Kärtner2
    1Freie Universität Berlin, Germany,2Universität Münster, Germany

    The involvement in daily chores by family members is an important context for the development of early helping behavior. In two cross-cultural studies, we investigated how mothers from different cultural contexts assign tasks to their children and how this relates to their toddlers helping behavior. In study 1, we found that mothers from rural Brazil request their toddlers (18-32 month) in a serious and insistent way (assertive scaffolding), while German mothers asked, plead, and gave explanations (deliberate scaffolding). Importantly, assertive scaffolding was associated with toddlers’ helping in rural Brazil, while mothers’ deliberate scaffolding related to toddlers’ helping behavior in urban Germany. These findings suggest culture-specific developmental pathways along the lines of interpersonal responsibility and personal choice. In study 2, we compared an urban German and an urban Japanese sample, using the same tasks, but at a younger age (16 month). This was to investigate how maternal scaffolding of chores differs between Japanese and German mothers and to test whether maternal culture-specific socialization may influence infants’ prosocial tendencies already at an earlier age. German mothers employed deliberate scaffolding strategies (like in the first study), while Japanese mothers asked their children in a sensitive way (using a high tone of voice and diminutives). However, there was no relation between maternal scaffolding and children’s helping at this early age. To conclude, mothers employ culture-specific scaffolding of daily chores shortly after their infants’ first birthday (study 2), before cultural learning effects toddlers’ helping behavior later in the first year (study 1).
  • Using culture to investigate the development of fairness
    Peter R Blake, Katherine McAuliffe, Felix Warneken, John Corbit, Tara Callaghan, Anni E Kajanus
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    Peter R Blake1, Katherine McAuliffe2, Felix Warneken3, John Corbit4, Tara Callaghan5, Anni E Kajanus6
    1Boston University, USA,2Boston College, USA,3University of Michigan, USA,4Simon Fraser University, Canada ,5St Francis Xavier University,6University of Helsinki, Finland

    A dislike of inequality is fundamental to our sense of fairness. However, humans tend to have a stronger aversion to receiving a disadvantage than to receiving an advantage. I will present a series of studies examining these two aspects of fairness across cultures. In Study 1, children in seven societies paid a cost to reject a disadvantage relative to a peer, but children rejected an advantage in a costly manner in only three societies. In Study 2, we combined experiments with an ethnographic study to investigate the causes of inequity aversion in two schools in China with different norms and teaching practices. Children in both schools rejected both forms of inequality, but the ethnography suggests that rejecting an advantage may be motivated by different social influences in the two schools. In Study 3, we evaluated children’s willingness to reject inequality after collaborating to obtain the rewards. We tested children in Canada and rural India, a site in which children tended to accept an advantage in Study 1. Children in India rejected an advantage after collaboration but not after parallel work, and rejected a disadvantage in both conditions. Combined these studies suggest that an aversion to disadvantage is a stable feature of human cognition and resistant to social influences. By contrast, an aversion to advantage varies across societies and can be produced by multiple social factors.
14:30-16:30 POSTER SESSION B
(with coffee & snacks)
16:30-17:30 PAPER SESSION 3
Neuroimaging of Theory of Mind

  • Development of the social brain from age three to twelve years
    Hilary Richardson, Grace Lisandrelli, Alexa Riobueno-Naylor, Rebecca Saxe
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    Hilary Richardson1, Grace Lisandrelli2, Alexa Riobueno-Naylor3, Rebecca Saxe1
    1Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA;2Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA;3Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA USA

    Over the past decade, fMRI research has made significant progress identifying functional divisions of labor within the adult “social brain." For example, in human adults, distinct networks of brain regions are recruited to reason about the bodies (physical sensations) and minds (mental states) of others. The current study characterizes the developmental trajectory of these two functionally specialized networks, and tests for relationships between functional specialization of these networks and behavioral developments in reasoning about the minds of others (“Theory of Mind”, ToM). A large cross-sectional sample of children ages three to twelve years old (n=122), in addition to a group of adults (n=33), watched a short, animated movie while undergoing fMRI. The movie highlights the physical sensations (often pain) and mental states (beliefs, desires, emotions) of the main characters, and, critically, provides an experimental context that is feasible and engaging for even the youngest children. Using interregional correlation analyses and reverse correlation analyses of the response timecourses in ToM and pain brain regions, we find evidence that 1) ToM and pain networks are functionally distinct by age three years, 2) functional specialization increases throughout childhood, and 3) functional maturity of each network is related to increasingly anti- correlated responses between the two networks. Further, these data provide evidence that the most studied milestone in ToM behavioral development, passing explicit false-belief tasks, does not correspond to discontinuities in the development of the social brain.
  • Functional organization for theory of mind in preverbal infants: A near-infrared spectroscopy study
    Daniel C. Hyde, Charline E. Simon, Fransisca Ting, Julia Nikolaeva
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    Daniel C. Hyde, Charline E. Simon, Fransisca Ting, Julia Nikolaeva
    Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

    Successful human social life requires imagining what others believe or think to understand and predict behavior. This ability, often referred to as theory of mind, reliably engages a specialized network of temporal and prefrontal brain regions in older children and adults, including selective recruitment of temporal-parietal junction (TPJ). To date, how and when this specialized brain organization for ToM arises is unknown due to limitations in functional neuroimaging at younger ages. Here we employed the emerging technique of functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to measure the functional brain response across the parietal, temporal, and prefrontal regions in 7-month old male and female infants as they viewed different video scenarios of a person searching for a hidden object. Over different conditions, we manipulated whether the person held an accurate (true) or inaccurate (false) belief about the location of the hidden object in the videos. We observed that the TPJ, but not other temporal and prefrontal regions, spontaneously tracked the beliefs of the other person, responding more during scenarios when the other person’s belief regarding the location of the object was false compared to scenarios where her belief was true. These results mirror those obtained with adults to show that TPJ is already functional organized for high-level social cognition by around 7-months. Furthermore, these results suggest that infants may draw on similar core mechanisms to implicitly track beliefs as do adults do when explicitly reasoning about them.
  • Fourteen-month-olds follow how others understand words
    Bálint Forgács, Eugenio Parise, Gergely Csibra, György Gergely, Judit Gervain
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    Bálint Forgács1,2, Eugenio Parise3,4, Gergely Csibra4,5, György Gergely4, Judit Gervain1
    1Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception (LPP), Université Paris Descartes, Paris, France;2Department of Cognitive Psychology, Department of Cognitive Psychology, Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Budapest, Hungary;3Department of Psychology, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK;4Cognitive Development Center (CDC), Department of Cognitive Science, Central European University (CEU), Budapest, Hungary5Department of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London, London, UK

    We set out to investigate the interplay between semantic comprehension and Theory-of-Mind capacities in 14-month-old infants. We wanted to know how infants’ brain process the linguistic (mis)understanding of an adult communicative partner in an object naming paradigm involving false beliefs, by recording event-related potentials. We presented infants with various toys that are likely to be known to them (e.g., shoe, apple, book, etc.), and named them in the presence of an adult observer. In half of the trials, we changed the object without the knowledge of the observer and named the new one, thus it was congruent from the perspective of the infant, but incongruent from the perspective of the observer. In the baseline condition the object naming was congruent for both parties. To confirm that we can evoke a typical N400, an electrophysiological marker of semantic comprehension, we also run a control experiment, where both parties heard either congruent or incongruent labels for objects. First, according to the control experiment, infants reacted to labels incongruent from their perspective with a typical N400, a greater negativity in the 400-600 ms time window. Secondly, in the main experiment, when labels were congruent from infants’ own perspective, but incongruent for the observer, we again found an N400 response, statistically not different from that of the control experiment. Additionally, we found a later frontal negativity as well. Infants, like adults, seem to use very similar neural resources to understand language and to track the comprehension of a communicative partner.
Decision-making: from perception to social cognition

  • How is visual perception biased?
    Floris de Lange
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    Floris de Lange
    Donders Institute, Netherlands

    Sensory signals are highly structured in both space and time. These regularities allow expectations about future stimulation to be formed, thereby facilitating perceptual decisions about visual features and objects. In my talk, I will discuss recent data that elucidate how temporal and spatial context change sensory computations in the visual system and modify perception and post-perceptual decision-making. I will also compare the effects of time and space with the effects of learnt statistical regularities on the neural and behavioral response.
  • Know thyself early on! The emergence of core metacognition in infants
    Sid Kouider
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    Sid Kouider
    CNRS / ENS, France

    When do children start reflecting upon their own cognitive states, an ability referred to as metacognition? Because young children typically give inaccurate verbal self-reports, it has been assumed that self-reflective abilities do not mature until late childhood. This claim is now challenged, as new studies relying on non-verbal paradigms reveal that rudimentary forms of metacognition - such as the ability to estimate decision confidence or to monitor errors - are present much earlier in development. I will present a series of experiments demonstrating that infants reflect upon their own decisions to evaluate their performance and adapt subsequent behaviour. After performing a binary choice, 12 and 18-month old infants display appropriate decision confidence by persisting more following correct as compared to incorrect decisions, even in the absence of external feedback. Furthermore, an electrophysiological marker of error detection, the Error-Related Negativity, is elicited when 12 month-old infants make incorrect decisions. Hence, although explicit forms of metacognition might mature later during childhood, core mechanisms of metacognitive sensitivity are already functional during the first year of life. This new line of evidence suggests that metacognition develops along two fundamentally distinct trajectories. While core metacognitive capacities are already present in infancy, flexible and explicit aspects of metacognition are only acquired through an effortful developmental process extending over childhood. I will conclude on how this dual-process approach to metacognition impacts our perspectives on learning and education.
  • Computational models of curiosity for understanding learning
    Celeste Kidd
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    Celeste Kidd
    University of Rochester, USA

    The talk will discuss approaches aimed at understanding the computational mechanisms that drive learning and development in young children. Although infants are born knowing little about the world, they possess remarkable learning mechanisms that eventually create sophisticated systems of knowledge. We discuss recent empirical findings about learners’ cognitive mechanisms—including attention, curiosity, and metacognition—that permit such striking learning throughout infancy and childhood. We will review evidence that infants enter the world equipped with sophisticated attentional strategies that select intermediately complex material to maximize their learning potential (the “Goldilocks effect” of infant attention, e.g., Kidd, Piantadosi, & Aslin, 2012, 2014; Piantadosi, Kidd, & Aslin, 2014). We will also discuss more recent work on the dynamics of idealized attention in complex learning environments, with a focus on attentional-switching patterns and their implications for understanding learning (e.g., Pelz, Piantadosi, & Kidd, 2015; Pelz, Yung, & Kidd, 2015; Wade & Kidd, under review). We will also touch on how these general mechanisms facilitate not only smart attentional decisions, but also good decision-making in general (e.g., Kidd, Palmeri, & Aslin, 2013).
Saturday, January 6
8:45-10:00 INVITED LECTURE 2
  • Reverse-engineering the core of human common sense
    Joshua Tenenbaum
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    Joshua Tenenbaum
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

    I will talk about our long-term research program attempting to reverse-engineer the form, content and origins of core commonsense knowledge in the human mind. Recent successes in artificial intelligence (AI) might suggest that we are close to solving this problem, but we are not. Even a one-year-old infant has a far deeper and broader notion of commonsense than any machine yet built, and this core intelligence is enriched and extended tremendously over the next few years of life. What is the difference between a child’s mind and today’s AI technologies? And what are the prospects for understanding children’s intelligence in the same terms that we might use to build an intelligent machine? I will focus on reverse-engineering the mental models underlying core intuitive physics and intuitive psychology, the basic commonsense reasoning capacities that have been studied empirically in infants over the last several decades, although much of the work I talk about will be studying these abilities quantitatively in adults. I will also talk briefly about mechanisms by which people can build new mental models — new concepts or new conceptual systems — such as an intuitive physical or psychological theory, or the rules of interpretation in natural language. I will introduce some of the basic formal machinery we use, based on probabilistic programs, game engine simulators, and program induction, along with some of the experimental paradigms that have been developed to test these models empirically in both adults and children.
10:00-10:30 COFFEE BREAK
Where can Predictive Processing accounts of Autism Spectrum Disorder take us next?

  • Confronting predictive processing with alternative information processing accounts of autism
    Sander van de Cruys, Johan Wagemans
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    Sander van de Cruys, Johan Wagemans
    University of Leuven

    In recent years, several promising computational theories have been proposed to explain cognitive and behavioral atypicalities in autism spectrum disorder. Here, we want to systematically compare our own predictive processing account (HIPPEA) to other models, such as the “noise accounts”, the divisive normalization account, and the “weak priors” account. We discuss to what extent they make different predictions and present our own recent empirical work on this (on orientation perception, on Mooney perception, and on mismatch negativity). Finally, we will argue that developmental studies on intrinsic motivation and (meta-)learning under uncertainty will help fill the gaps in our understanding of cognitive difficulties in autism.
  • Weighing the past against the present: learning and uncertainty autism
    Rebecca Lawson
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    Rebecca Lawson
    University College London

    Our perception of the sensory present depends strongly on prior expectations derived from the recent sensory past. Adaptive behaviour rests on the ability to dynamically adjust the balance of prior expectations against new sensory inputs in the face of uncertainty. An appealing new hypothesis is that cognitive features of autism can be understood terms of a failure of Bayesian inference, in which prior information is underweighted during sensory processing and perception is less constrained by past experience (Pellicano & Burr, TiCS, 2012). Neurocomputationally, under the predictive coding framework (Friston, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 2005), this amounts to problems with gain control, where estimates of variability (e.g. uncertainty) scale the driving neural responses to sensory input via the action of neuromodulators. In this talk I will first introduce the framework by which adaptive gain control mechanisms may be aberrant in autism (Lawson, Friston & Rees, PNAS, 2016; Palmer, Lawson & Hohwy, Psych Bulletin, 2017). Then I will go on to present some recent data examining how individuals with autism learn about the variability of different kinds of sensory information to build prior beliefs and how these learning dynamics are related to symptom severity and the action of neuromodulators such as noradrenaline (Lawson et al, Nature Neuroscience, 2017). Finally I will discuss the implications of these findings for both typical and atypical neurodevelopment.
  • Studying the development of visual perception in autistic children under the prism of Pellicano and Burr (2012)
    Themelis Karaminis
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    Themelis Karaminis
    Radboud University

    Pellicano and Burr (2012) suggest that the unique perceptual experiences of individuals with autism might be accounted for by attenuated prior knowledge within a simple computational model of Bayesian perceptual inference. The hypothesis posits limitations in the abilities of autistic individuals to derive, maintain and/or use efficiently summary statistics representations for the recent history of sensory input. Such limitations lead to a processing style where sensory input is modulated to a lesser extent by norms derived from prior sensory experience. I will summarise results from a series of studies on the development of visual perception in autistic and typical children, which targeted key domains of visual perception and included empirical, eye tracking and computational modelling techniques. I will discuss the implications of the findings for the Pellicano and Burr (2012) hypothesis and predictive coding accounts of autism and consider directions for future research.
  • Autistic children can anticipate moving objects: testing the disordered prediction account of autism
    Catherine Manning, Furtuna Tewolde, Dorothy Bishop
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    Catherine Manning, Furtuna Tewolde, Dorothy Bishop
    University of Oxford

    Following contemporary accounts focusing on atypical predictive processing in autism, Sinha et al. (2014) proposed that autistic individuals have impaired prediction abilities, so that the world appears ‘magical’ with events occurring unexpectedly. Sinha et al. claimed that disordered prediction would result in difficulties interacting with dynamic objects, and in particular anticipating the motion of moving objects. We set out to test this hypothesis using two dynamic extrapolation tasks (Makin & Bertamini, 2014). Thirty autistic children aged 6-14 years and thirty typically developing children matched in age and non-verbal IQ were asked to predict when an occluded car would reach the end of a road and when an occluded set of lights would fill up a grid. We manipulated task difficulty by varying the occlusion duration (1s, 2s, 4s). Overall, children showed effects of occlusion duration, such that their performance became less precise for longer occlusion durations. However, autistic children made predictions that were just as precise and as reliable as those made by typically developing children, in both tasks. These findings challenge the theory that autism is caused by pervasively disordered prediction abilities. We will reflect on this theory, relative to Bayesian and predictive coding approaches, and suggest that more studies are required to test the predictions arising from theories of disordered prediction in autism.
12:00-13:00 LUNCH Restaurants around
Perceptual and developmental foundations of action-event representation

  • The representational organization of action events along features of sociality and transitivity
    Moritz Wurm, Angelika Lingnau, Alfonso Caramazza
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    Moritz Wurm1, Angelika Lingnau2, Alfonso Caramazza1,3
    1Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento, Italy,2Royal Holloway University of London,3Harvard University and Center for Mind/Brain Sciences

    A major goal in cognitive neuroscience is to understand how the human perceptual and memory systems organize distinct knowledge categories. While there is intense research on the organization of object knowledge, the neurocognitive principles of action categorization are largely unknown. Here we tested the hypothesis that certain category-specific action features are represented in distinct partitions in response to evolutionary pressure during the formation of neural substrates subserving action recognition. We focused on two potentially salient dimensions: the distinction between social (person-directed) vs. nonsocial and object-related vs. object-unrelated actions. We hypothesized that the neuroanatomical representation of actions along these dimensions (sociality and transitivity, hereafter) is shaped by associations to category- specific object information (e.g., cutting is associated with tools and inanimate objects whereas teaching is associated with knowledge about conspecifics and interpersonal relations). Using fMRI-based multivoxel pattern analyses, we identified neural representations of observed actions in higher-level visual cortex (lateral occipitotemporal cortex, LOTC) that showed differential preferences for features of sociality and transitivity: Dorsal LOTC, in proximity to regions processing person knowledge, distinguished between social vs. nonsocial actions whereas ventral LOTC, in proximity to regions processing tools/artifacts, distinguished between transitive vs. intransitive actions. These findings point to a mutually dependent organization of actions and objects. Additionally, we found a posterior-to-anterior gradient from specific action subtypes to subtype- general categorical action information. Together, our results suggest specialized pathways that preferentially process socially relevant and tool/object-related action features, respectively, at increasing levels of generality and thereby provide the basis for understanding social and object-related actions.
  • The two-body inversion effect
    Liuba Papeo
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    Liuba Papeo
    Institut des Sciences Cognitives Marc Jeannerod, CNRS, France

    How do humans perceive visual scenes with multiple persons? I will discuss a series of visual perception experiments with backward masking, showing that processing of multiple bodies is influenced by their relative positioning. In particular, bodies facing each other (seemingly interacting) are recognized more accurately and faster than nonfacing bodies (noninteracting). Moreover, recognition of facing body dyads is disproportionately impaired when those stimuli are inverted. This pattern of results emerged even if participants are not able to report what they have seen (except that there were bodies), that is, before an elaborate, conscious recognition of body poses and actions. Privileged recognition and inversion effect reveal specialized mechanisms for the visual analysis of interacting bodies, analogous to the case of individual bodies and faces. These results open to the possibility of internal visual representations capturing configurations larger and more complex than an individual face or body (a dyadic configuration, at the least). Multi-body representations, where human observers would obtain a fast, initial appraisal of possible relations in a scene, may be the intermediate step between body perception and understanding of social interactions. In line with this thinking, initial results based on a preferential looking paradigm reveal sensitivity to facing versus nonfacing body positioning in 6-months-old infants. I will finally discuss results raising the question as whether the putative dyadic configuration is specific to human- human interaction or extends to human-object scenarios.
  • Automaticity in the perception of causality
    Brent Strickland
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    Brent Strickland
    Institut Jean Nicod, CNRS, France

    For many years, following Michotte researchers believed that simple events, like billiard ball collisions, were in some cases "directly" seen as causal. In other words these event were postulated to be automatically categorized as involving causality in a way that may divorced from higher level judgment. In studying this phenomenon however, one issue has been the use of direct as opposed to indirect measures. Since the 1950's, researchers interested in this topic have typically shown a causal or non-causal event to participants and asked them to assess the extent to which that event looks causal. This leaves open the possibility that any factors that are hypothesized to affect the perception of causality could in fact merely be affecting judgments about causality (Rips, 2011). Here I discuss a new sets of results involving indirect measures in the perception of causality and which help strengthen the argument that causal perception is automatic. The first involves a novel visual search task in which we show that physically impossible accelerations "pop-out" for causal launching events but accelerations do not do so for closely matched but non-causal events (Kominsky*, Strickland*, Wertz, & Keil, under review). We further show that similar effects obtain in pre-verbal infants from 10 months of age. Collectively these findings help demonstrate that causality is detected rapidly and automatically during on-line perception, and this can have surprising down stream effects.
  • How are events represented for language?
    Melissa Kline
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    Melissa Kline
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

    How are events represented for language? Verbs appear to draw on a relatively small set of event components - Cause, Manner, Path, etc. (Talmy, 1985) – to define their syntactic frames. Pre-linguistic infants are sensitive to causation and means/outcome (Gergely et al. 2002); if these lead to linguistic representations we expect verb meanings to reflect them. To test this, I examine 3-5yo's expectations about verbs and basic spatiotemporal event properties, showing that their verb meanings reflect general event components and properties of these early cognitive representations. Causation: Preschools use a set of spatiotemporal cues (available to 6-month- old infants, Leslie & Keeble 1987) to guide verb learning in transitive sentences, a frame associated with causal meanings. Given a choice between a causal event and one identical except for the spatiotemporal cause/effect continuity, children map transitive verbs (but not intransitive ones) to the former. Manner and Path: "I ran across the room" encodes Manner of motion in the verb, while "I crossed the room running" describes the same event with a Path verb. English-speaking preschoolers learn a Path bias from novel verb exemplars (after rise and enter they guess the next verb refers to cross, not run), but maintain the English manner bias when it fits the evidence. They extend this bias to causal scenes, interpreting verbs as either the action (hit) or effect (break) depending on the motion bias they learned. This demonstrates access to abstract categories for the manner (of action, of motion) and outcome (paths, causal effects) of events.
14:30-16:30 POSTER SESSION C
(with coffee & snacks)
16:30-17:30 PAPER SESSION 4
Non-human Primate Cognition

  • Working memory in chimpanzees: Capacity, types of information, & sensitivity to interference
    Christoph J. Völter, Josep Call, Amanda M. Seed
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    Christoph J. Völter1,2, Josep Call1,2, Amanda M. Seed1
    1University of St Andrews, UK;2Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany

    Working memory (WM) is a core executive function that allows organisms to hold, process, and manipulate information. Even though WM has been highlighted repeatedly as important factor contributing to uniquely human forms of cognition there is a surprising lack of WM paradigms for comparative research. In this study, we established a novel WM test in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Standard WM tasks for humans often require participants to continuously update their WM. In experiment 1, we implemented this updating requirement in a foraging situation: chimpanzees (N = 9) searched for food items in an array of containers. To avoid redundant searches, they needed to continuously update which containers they had visited already. Depending on their individual performance, we raised the memory demands by adding containers to the search array. We examined chimpanzees’ WM capacity and to what extent they used spatial and feature cues. In experiment 2, we investigated how susceptible their WM was to attentional interference, an important characteristic setting WM in humans apart from long-term memory. Overall, we found large individual differences with some individuals remembering at least their last four choices and younger chimpanzees generally performing better than older ones. Moreover, chimpanzees used a combination of spatial and feature cues to remember their previous choices. Finally, their WM performance decreased specifically when competing memory information was introduced. Together, these findings show remarkable similarities between human and chimpanzee WM abilities. Future studies will show how individual differences in WM performance relate to other executive functions in nonhuman primates.
  • Natural reference: comprehension of iconic gestures and sounds in children and great apes
    Manuel Bohn, Josep Call, Michael Tomasello
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    Manuel Bohn1,2, Josep Call3, Michael Tomasello4
    1Stanford University, USA;2Leipzig University, Germany;3University of St. Andrews, UK;4Duke University, USA

    Iconicity plays an important role in theories on the developmental (e.g. Perniss & Vigliocco, 2014; Werner & Kaplan, 1963) and evolutionary (e.g. Cartmill et al., 2012; Tomasello, 2008) origins of human communication. In contrast to conventional/symbolic signals, such as words in a language, iconic signals resemble their referent and therefore bear a “naturally referential” relation to the things they denote. In a series of experiments, we investigated comprehension of iconic signals (gestures and/or sounds) in apes and human children (18-36mo). Participants played with two different apparatuses with an experimenter. Each apparatus was operated in a distinct way and made a distinct sound when operated. At a later point, the experimenter made reference to one of the apparatuses by mimicking its movement and/or its sound. We observed whether participants would approach the indicated apparatus. There were three conditions: combined (gesture + sound), gesture only and sound only. This allowed us to investigate the relative importance of different forms of iconicity. Apes and 18mo showed no signs of comprehension in the combined condition. 24mo children were able to spontaneously comprehend iconic signals in the combined condition, but not in the gesture or sound only conditions. At 36 month, children were successful in the combined and the gesture, but not the sound condition. The results will be discussed in light of the ongoing theoretical debate on the developmental and evolutionary origins of uniquely human communication. Taken together, these studies shed light on the flexibility of children’s and apes’ communication.
  • Object Individuation based on Property/Kind Information in Capuchin Monkeys
    Verena Kersken, Da Zhang, Juan-Carlos Gomez, Amanda Seed, Derek Ball
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    Verena Kersken1, Da Zhang1, Juan-Carlos Gomez1, Amanda Seed1, Derek Ball2
    1School of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, UK;2Department of Philosophy, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, UK

    Object individuation is the cognitive ability to parse sensory input into discrete objects, according to spatiotemporal or property/kind information. Whereas human infants can use the former at a young age, they can only use the latter at around one year when language acquisition begins. Some researchers propose that the latter capacity, as a landmark of conceptual development, is correlated with language acquisition and therefore unique to humans, while others argue that nonhuman animals (apes and macaques) are also capable of using both types of information. The present study aimed to shed more light on the evolutionary origins of object individuation by testing a new-world monkey species, capuchin monkeys (Sapajus spp.), using both manual search (n = 29) and looking time (n = 25) measures. In spatiotemporal trials, subjects saw one or two objects dropped into a box, but always found (or saw) only one. In the property/kind trials, subjects saw either object A or B being dropped into a box and then always found (or saw) object A. The capuchin monkeys looked longer or searched more on unexpected trials – in which the outcome differed in quantity or in kind - which suggested that they had expectations based on object representations. We suggest that individuating objects according to their properties is likely a primate primitive. Similar to the work with infants in this paradigm, looking time and manual search measures gave convergent results.
From Social to Moral: Children’s Evaluations of How People Uphold Their Prosocial Obligation

  • Preschoolers’ Evaluations of People Who Do Not Help
    Jonathan S. Beier, Brandon F. Terrizzi, Amanda Mae Woodward, Jonas Ventimiglia
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    Jonathan S. Beier, Brandon F. Terrizzi, Amanda Mae Woodward, Jonas Ventimiglia
    University of Maryland, College Park, USA

    Moral theories support judgments about the rightness of actions and the goodness of actors. These intuitions are rooted in social evaluations appearing early in development: Even infants view helping as good and hindering as bad. Yet morality also prescribes what one ought to do; in some contexts, inaction itself is impermissible. We investigated the emergence of children’s reasoning about one’s prosocial obligation to help others, through their judgments of people who fail to meet this moral standard. Three- to six-year-olds (N = 128) viewed two videos each. Children in the Helpful condition saw one actor help another access an out-of-reach object; those in the Unhelpful condition saw her observe the other’s reach but do nothing. Children also viewed a baseline, no-help-needed video, with new actors whose movements matched those in the main video. With age, children increasingly evaluated the helper more positively, and the non-helper more negatively, than each condition’s matched baseline actor. This was expressed in their play choices and niceness ratings of each actor from 5 years of age, and their selective projection of positive (e.g., “always keeps promises”) and negative (e.g., “never shares”) qualities to the helpful, unhelpful, and neutral baseline actors by 6 years. Young children thus negatively evaluate people who fail to help through inaction, and these judgments guide their social preferences. Children increasingly consider what a person should have done, suggesting that their evaluations incorporate normative standards for prosocial responding. Ongoing work examines children’s consideration of external factors that limit one’s ability to help.
  • Children’s and Adults’ Evaluations of Social Roles and Acts of Omission
    Julia Marshall, Paul Bloom
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    Julia Marshall, Paul Bloom
    Yale University, USA

    Adults not only morally judge actions; we morally judge omissions. A parent who refused to help his injured child, or someone who did not answer her friend’s cry to help, might be judged harshly, as a bad person. But such obligations are attenuated by relationships; we are less prone to blame a stranger for doing nothing. The present studies explore the development of these intuitions. In Study 1, we told 8- and 9-year-olds (n = 42) and adults (n = 45) stories about a child in need, where either a parent, a friend, or a stranger failed to help. Children and adults rated the parent’s inaction the most harshly, the stranger’s the least, and the friend in between. In Study 2, we carried out a simplified version of this experiment, and tested younger children as well. 8- and 9-year-olds (n = 43) and adults (n = 34) showed the same effect as in Study 1. But 5- and 6-year-olds (n = 40) evaluated inaction across the different characters as uniformly negative—for them, it is just as bad for a stranger to fail to help than for a parent to do nothing. Ongoing studies are exploring the nature of this developmental difference.
  • Beyond Avoiding People Who Are Wrong: Young Children’s Evaluation of Others’ Informativeness
    Hyowon Gweon, Mika Asaba
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    Hyowon Gweon, Mika Asaba
    Stanford University, USA

    Pedagogical contexts license learners to draw powerful inferences, yet such power can become hazardous when teachers provide misleading information. Thus, it is critical for young learners to evaluate teachers who are unhelpful. When a teacher demonstrates one function of a toy that has three other functions, this under-informative teaching constitutes a “sin of omission”; it misleads the learner to falsely believe that the toy has just one function even though her demonstration was never technically false. Here we test the hypothesis that, even though preschool-aged children have the competence to evaluate under-informative teaching, their performance depends on whether they understand what the teacher could have done to be fully informative. Children evaluated two teachers (one fully informative, one under-informative) in two different orders. While 6- and 7-year-olds penalized the under-informative teacher regardless of the order (Exp.1), 4- and 5-year-olds did so only when they rated the fully informative teacher first. Exp.3 and Exp.4 provide further evidence that preschoolers need an explicit example of fully informative teaching to recognize omission as a “sin”. Additional studies show that preschoolers exonerate under-informative teaching if the teacher couldn’t be more informative due to her ignorance, and even understand that the same information can be necessary or excessive (over-informative) given the learner’s knowledge. Collectively, this talk will highlight how young learners go beyond simply avoiding people who are wrong. Children actively infer others’ qualities as teachers based on whether they provide information that is requisite to the needs and the expectations of a learner.
  • Preschoolers’ Social Evaluations of Others’ Strategically Public Displays of Prosocial Behavior
    Reiki Kishimoto, Shoji Itakura, Kazuo Fujita, Kazuhide Hashiya
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    Reiki Kishimoto1,2, Shoji Itakura1, Kazuo Fujita1, Kazuhide Hashiya3
    1Kyoto University, Japan,2Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Japan, 3Kyushu University, Japan

    Behaving cooperatively only when it enhances one’s reputation is a strategy that brings personal benefits at minimal cost. However, if others notice that an individual is employing such a strategy, the reputational benefits may be collapsed. We addressed the developmental origin of this type of social judgment by examining how 4- to 5-year-olds evaluate “calculating” agents. In Experiment 1, children preferred the Private-only Helper, who helped another individual only when he believed he was not being observed, compared to the Public-only Helper, who helped only when he knew that he was being observed – even though their helping frequency was equal across contexts. Experiment 2 was a modified version of the procedure, conducted with adults. Not only did adults show the same preference as children, but further testing also suggested that they evaluated the Public-only Helper more negatively than an Unconditional Non-Helper, who never helped at all. Moreover, outside of a calculating strategy, helping frequency did matter, as they preferred the Unconditional Helper, who always helped, to the Private-only Helper. Experiment 3 thus explored whether children also ignore helping frequency when evaluating calculating agents. Unlike adults, children showed no clear preference. Overall, we have demonstrated that an avoidance of calculating agents is already present in 4-year-old children. Although young children’s evaluations are not yet completely independent of helping frequency, they already appear to distinguish between people who help out of genuine altruistic tendency and people who help to gain personal reputational benefits.