Directors of the School: Antonio M. Battro and Kurt W. Fischer
Directors of the Course: Sidney Strauss and Elena Pasquinelli
Program officer: María Lourdes Majdalani
Learning useful knowledge requires validation of acquired information as generalizable to new situations. Beyond statistical validation, which is available to most species, humans have access to an additional method of validation: communication from a trustworthy source. Learning generic knowledge from others by communication has many requirements: signals that indicate communication, symbols that refer to kinds (rather than particulars), disregarding statistical and counter-evidence, and trust in communicators, among others. In a research program based on the framework theory of natural pedagogy, we have found evidence for the presence of many of these requirements in human infants, suggesting that infants are well prepared to learn from benevolent teachers. Whether these abilities (1) are unique to humans, (2) are the results of some more basic mechanisms or adaptations, (3) are universal across cultures, (4) have symmetric counterparts that support teaching in humans, are controversial questions to be discussed.