Born Pupils? Natural Pedagogy and Cultural Pedagogy.
The theory of natural pedagogy is an important focus of research on the evolution and development of cultural learning. It proposes that we are born pupils; that human children genetically inherit a package of psychological adaptations that make them receptive to teaching. In this article, I first examine the components of the package-eye contact, contingencies, infant-directed speech, gaze cuing, and rational imitation-asking in each case whether current evidence indicates that the component is a reliable feature of infant behavior and a genetic adaptation for teaching. I then discuss three fundamental insights embodied in the theory: Imitation is not enough for cumulative cultural inheritance, the extra comes from blind trust, and tweaking is a powerful source of cognitive change. Combining the results of the empirical review with these insights, I argue that human receptivity to teaching is founded on nonspecific genetic adaptations for social bonding and social learning and acquires its species- and functionally specific features through the operation of domain-general processes of learning in sociocultural contexts. We engage, not in natural pedagogy, but in cultural pedagogy.