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JACOB Pierre

Directeur de Recherche Émérite, CNRS

 

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ÉVOLUTION & COGNITION SOCIALE

 

Pierre Jacob is a philosopher of mind and the cognitive sciences. He is CNRS emeritus director of research and was the first director of Institut Jean Nicod (from 2001 until 2009).
In the 1990’s much of his work was devoted to the naturalization of intentionality.

At the turn of the century his work dealt with issues arising from cognitive neuroscience. He first addressed issues from the cognitive neuroscience of vision and action and focused in particular on the two-systems model of human vision. He further focused on the significance of the discovery of mirror neurons for human social cognition.

For the past ten years or so, much of his research has focused on developmental social cognitive research, particularly research on the development of mental state attribution (or mindreading) in human childhood. In particular, he has dealt with the puzzle of the discrepant experimental findings about false-belief attribution in early human childhood. While preschoolers have been shown to fail verbal false-belief tasks, the evidence based on non-verbal tests also shows that human infants expect an agent to act in accordance with the content of her belief. P. Jacob has proposed to tackle this paradox by taking the findings based on non-verbal tests at face value as reliable evidence of the capacity for false-belief attribution in human infancy. And he proposes a pragmatic explanation of the failure of preschoolers on verbal false-belief tasks.


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