OTKA K76043 (2008-2011)
Based on the theory of Human Pedagogy our ongoing research investigates pedagogical and inferential processes that contribute to the transfer of human cultural knowledge. We test the acquisition and transmission of new relevant and conventional means actions in 3,5 and 5 year old children.
We predict the following:
1. The goal of many cultural conventions is opaque and cannot be inferred relying on teleological understanding of the contextual information. However a) human pedagogy can focus attention on opaque actions, b) or conventions can be interpreted in terms of mental causality. In order to differentiate between these two alternative mechanisms we developed a paradigm where conventional actions appear before or after a well defined goal.
2. The interpretation and the pedagogical transmission of conventional actions most likely requires the understanding of mental states and mental contents. To investigate this hypothesis we test which means-actions are transmitted by the cultural model, and also test the teaching strategies in preschool children with different abilities of theory of mind.
The research series investigates the connection between mentalization and the human specific ability for teaching, and also enrich our understanding on the early appearance of cultural knowledge transfer.