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Trends Cogn Sci. 2005 Mar;9(3):118-25.

Species comparative studies and cognitive development.

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Scottish Primate Research Group, School of Psychology, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife KY15 9JU, UK.


The comparative study of infant development and animal cognition brings to cognitive science the promise of insights into the nature and origins of cognitive skills. In this article, I review a recent wave of comparative studies conducted with similar methodologies and similar theoretical frameworks on how two core components of human cognition--object permanence and gaze following--develop in different species. These comparative findings call for an integration of current competing accounts of developmental change. They further suggest that evolution has produced developmental devices capable at the same time of preserving core adaptive components, and opening themselves up to further adaptive change, not only in interaction with the external environment, but also in interaction with other co-developing cognitive systems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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