The Role of the Ostensive Communicative Context in the Childhood Social Learning

  • Emiliano LoriaEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10257)


In 2006 Gergely Csibra and György Gergely proposed a new type of social cognitive learning mechanism, called “natural pedagogy”, grounded on the ostensive communication. According to their theory human infants show very early sensitivity to communicative and ostensive cues that indicate teaching contexts; they tend to interpret certain actions (e.g. gaze shift or pointing) occurring in these communicative contexts as referential cues to identify the referents about which new information will be provided. Furthermore, they argue, infants can infer that the information revealed about the referents in such ostensive communicative teaching contexts will not only be new and relevant, but will consist of publicly shared and universal cultural knowledge that is, thus, generalizable and shareable with other members of the cultural community. This last crucial point makes rise the question if mindreading capacities are involved in the pedagogical system, insofar infants are able to ascribe to others beliefs in the form of knowledge content transmitted and acquired in ostensive way.


Ostensive communication Referential expectation Social learning Natural pedagogy Infant cognition Mindreading 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Consortium FINOTurin/GenoaItaly

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