Early Social Cognitive Development in Baka Infants: Joint Attention, Behavior Control, Understanding of the Self Related to Others, Social Approaching, and Language Learning

  • Tadashi KoyamaEmail author
Part of the Replacement of Neanderthals by Modern Humans Series book series (RNMH)


In this paper, the author presents a picture of early social development in infants growing up in a Baka hunter-gatherer community in eastern Cameroon. Interviews performed using the DESC confirmed that Baka mothers were aware of their infants’ development in social cognition. They demonstrated joint attention with their infants and provided scaffolding as they learned about objects in their environment. Infants’ ability to distinguish strangers from strangers and fear of strangers developed earlier than reported for Japanese infants. The rapid onset and stabilization of social cognition early in infancy suggests scaffolding, and mother-infant reciprocal exchanges are important in the development of communication and language.


Early social cognitive development Baka infants The significance of scaffolding Stability in early child-mother interchanges 



This study was supported by the “Grant-in-aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas 2010–2014, 1201.” The project leader is Takeru Akazawa, PhD. The title is Replacement of Neanderthals by Modern Humans: Testing Evolutionary Models of learning. I am grateful to the members of our Research Team A02 in the RNMH project, “A Study of Human Learning Behavior Based on Fieldwork among Hunter-Gatherers” (team leader; Hideaki Terashima) for supporting my research. I would also like to thank Hideaki Terashima, Koji Hayashi, Izumi Hagino, and Koji Sonoda for supporting this study.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human Psychology, Faculty of Humanities and SciencesKobe Gakuin UniversityKobeJapan

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