Richard Moore

Richard Moore
The University of Warwick · Department of Philosophy

PhD Philosophy (Warwick 2010)

About

43
Publications
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Introduction
I'm a philosopher of psychology who works on issues in cognitive development in ontogeny, phylogeny, and human history. I'm interested in the nature of intentional communication and various forms of social learning (including imitation), and their role in the formation of both individual minds and group culture. I also conduct empirical research. My Communicative Mind lab investigates the developmental relationship between communication and various aspects of Theory of Mind.
Additional affiliations
October 2009 - September 2013
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (43)
Article
On standard readings of Grice, Gricean communication requires (a) possession of a concept of belief, (b) the ability to make complex inferences about others’ goal-directed behaviour, and (c) the ability to entertain fourth order meta-representations. To the extent that these abilities are pre-requisites of Gricean communication they are inconsisten...
Article
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According to the socio-cognitive revolution (SCR) hypothesis, humans but not other great apes acquire language because only we possess the socio-cognitive abilities required for Gricean communication, which is a pre-requisite of language development. On this view, language emerged only following a socio-cognitive revolution in the hominin lineage t...
Article
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The previous studies have shown that human infants and domestic dogs follow the gaze of a human agent only when the agent has addressed them ostensively-e.g., by making eye contact, or calling their name. This evidence is interpreted as showing that they expect ostensive signals to precede referential information. The present study tested chimpanze...
Article
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I argue that uniquely human forms of 'Theory of Mind' (or 'ToM') are a product of cultural evolution. Specifically, propositional attitude psychology is a linguistically constructed folk model of the human mind, invented by our ancestors for a range of tasks and refined over successive generations of users. The construction of these folk models gav...
Article
Two‐ and 3‐year‐old children (N = 96) were tested in an object‐choice task with video presentations of peer and adult partners. An immersive, semi‐interactive procedure enabled both the close matching of adult and peer conditions and the combination of participants’ choice behavior with looking time measures. Children were more likely to use inform...
Article
In this paper the author attempts to reconcile two claims recently defended by Mitchell Green. The first is that illocutionary force is part of speaker meaning (Green 2018). The second is that illocutionary force is a product of cultural evolution (Green 2017). Consistent with the second claim, the author argues that some utterances-particularly th...
Article
Humans alone acquire language. According to one influential school of thought, we do this because we possess a uniquely human ability to act with and attribute "Gricean" communicative intentions. A challenge for this view is that attributing communicative intent seems to require cognitive abilities that infant language learners lack. After consider...
Article
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It is sometimes claimed that Gricean communication is necessarily a form of cooperative or ‘joint’ action. A consequence of this Cooperative Communication View is that Gricean communication could not itself contribute to an explanation of the possibility of joint action. I argue that even though Gricean communication is often a form of joint action...
Article
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In this paper, we distinguish between a number of different phenomena that have been called imitation, and identify one form—a high fidelity mechanism for social learning—considered to be crucial for the development of language. Subsequently, we consider a common claim in the language evolution literature, which is that prior to the emergence of vo...
Article
In the current study, 24- to 27-month-old children (N = 37) used pointing gestures in a cooperative object choice task with either peer or adult partners. When indicating the location of a hidden toy, children pointed equally accurately for adult and peer partners but more often for adult partners. When choosing from one of three hiding places, chi...
Article
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Two new books—Creating Language: Integrating Evolution, Acquisition, and Processing by Morten H. Christiansen and Nick Chater, and Why Only Us: Language and Evolution by Robert C. Berwick and Noam Chomsky—present a good opportunity to assess the state of the debate about whether or not language was made possible by language-specific adaptations for...
Article
A prevailing view is that while human communication has an ‘ostensive- inferential’ or ‘Gricean’ intentional structure, animal communication does not. This would make the psychological states that support human and animal forms of communication fundamentally different. Against this view, I argue that there are grounds to expect ostensive communicat...
Chapter
Researchers have converged on the idea that a pragmatic understanding of communication can shed important light on the evolution of language. Accordingly, animal communication scientists have been keen to adopt insights from pragmatics research. Some authors couple their appeal to pragmatic aspects of communication with the claim that there are fun...
Article
Full-text available
Language's intentional nature has been highlighted as a crucial feature distinguishing it from other communication systems. Specifically, language is often thought to depend on highly structured intentional action and mutual mindreading by a communicator and recipient. Whilst similar abilities in animals can shed light on the evolution of intention...
Research
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In a recent paper, Mikhalevich argues that comparative psychologists should abandon the 'natural null' (H n) model of null hypothesis testing, in favour of a 'contextual null' (H c) model, which incorporates more specific information about different species' phylogenetic relatedness, and previous empirical research. While we are sympathetic to her...
Article
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Orang-utans played a communication game in two studies testing their ability to produce and comprehend requestive pointing. While the ‘communicator’ could see but not obtain hidden food, the ‘donor’ could release the food to the communicator, but could not see its location for herself. They could coordinate successfully if the communicator pointed...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Though most toddlers spend an extensive amount of time in the presence of peers and siblings, the encounters they have with age-mates are qualitatively much different from the structured interactions they have with caretakers. Such differences are likely to influence how children engage in either context subsequently. Comparing children’s performan...
Article
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It is sometimes argued that while human gestures are produced ostensively and intentionally, great ape gestures are produced only intentionally. If true, this would make the psychological mechanisms underlying the different species’ communication fundamentally different, and ascriptions of meaning to chimpanzee gestures would be inappropriate. Whil...
Data
These are some follow up comments to my review of Thom Scott-Phillips's Speaking Our Minds. They were originally published online at: http://www.cognitionandculture.net/workshops/speaking-our-minds-book-club/2716-some-comments-on-the-arguments-of-chapters-3-and-4
Article
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A comment on Michelle Kline's BBS target article 'How to learn about teaching: An evolutionary framework for the study of teaching behavior in humans and other animals'.
Article
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A review of Thom Scott-Phillips's Speaking Our Minds. Times Literary Supplement, May 20th 2015.
Article
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This is a comment on: Scott-Phillips, T. C. (2015). Nonhuman primate communication, pragmatics, and the origins of language. Current Anthropology, 56(1), 56-80.
Article
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In the past 20 years or so, the psychological research on imitation has flourished. However, our working definition of imitation has not adequately adapted in order to reflect this research. The closest that we’ve come to a revamped conception of imitation comes from the work of Michael Tomasello. Despite its numerous virtues, Tomasello’s definitio...
Article
Improving methods for studying primate interaction are providing new insights into the relationship between gesture and meaning in chimpanzee and bonobo communication.
Article
Infants can see someone pointing to one of two buckets and infer that the toy they are seeking is hidden inside. Great apes do not succeed in this task, but, surprisingly, domestic dogs do. However, whether children and dogs understand these communicative acts in the same way is not yet known. To test this possibility, an experimenter did not point...
Article
Full-text available
A review of Thomas Suddendorf's The Gap: The Science of What Separates Us from Other Animals.
Chapter
For a number of reasons Paul Grice’s account of the nature of intentional communication has often been supposed to be cognitively too complex to work as an account of the communicative interactions of pre-verbal children. Here I review a number of different formulations of this problem, and responses to this problem that others have developed. Thes...
Article
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There is increasing evidence that some behavioural differences between groups of chimpanzees can be attributed neither to genetic nor to ecological variation. Such differences are likely to be maintained by social learning. While humans teach their offspring, and acquire cultural traits through imitative learning, there is little evidence of such b...
Article
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The communicative interactions of very young children almost always involve language (based on conventions), gesture (based on bodily deixis or iconicity) and directed gaze. In this study, ninety-six children (3;0 years) were asked to determine the location of a hidden toy by understanding a communicative act that contained none of these familiar m...
Article
Full-text available
Tomasello and colleagues have offered various arguments to explain why apes find the comprehension of pointing difficult. They have argued that: (i) apes fail to understand communicative intentions; (ii) they fail to understand informative, cooperative communication, and (iii) they fail to track the common ground that pointing comprehension require...
Article
Full-text available
To the extent that language is conventional, non-verbal individuals, including human infants, must participate in conventions in order to learn to use even simple utterances of words. This raises the question of which varieties of learning could make this possible. In this paper I defend Tomasello’s (The cultural origins of human cognition. Harvard...
Thesis
Full-text available
Around the age of fourteen months, infants start to use and understand others' uses of words in communicative interaction. What cognitive abilities must one attribute to them in order to explain this? In this thesis, I set out a variety of features – including knowledge of reference, of (Gricelike) communicative intentions, and of (Lewis-like) ling...

Projects

Projects (4)
Project
This project aims to understand the development of peer-peer communication on ontogeny and phylogeny. It does this by sketching a non-metaphorical account of what makes adult humans better communicators the young children and great apes; and thereby discerning the contributions of adult scaffolding to communicative development.
Project
The project analyses developmental and evolutionary causes of human-specific neurocognitive mechanisms, such as empathy, imitation and mentalizing. It describes how socio-cultural influences and molecules epigenetically interact to shape the properties of neural networks, such as the Mirror Neuron System, which are crucial to human-specific social cognition. The project aims to make the theoretical study of human cognitive evolution more integrative, and attentive to current developments in molecular biology and comparative neuroscience.