The evolution of mathematical abilities
This is a very old project (I was an undergrad...). It still is a fun topic to think about though. (Picture of the Ishango bones).
Mercier, H. (2006) “Some ideas to study the evolution of mathematics.” in Gontier, N., Van Bendegem, J.P., and Aerts, D. Evolutionary Epistemology, Language and Culture – A nonadaptationist systems theoretical approach. Dordrecht: Springer.
Taking advice into account
Before lauching our cross-cultural work, we studied the way people take advice into account in France (that was less fun).
Van der Henst, J-B. & Mercier, H. (2005) “Belief revision in a communicative context.” Ninth International Symposium on Social Communication.
Mercier, H & Van der Henst, J-B. (2005) “The source of beliefs in conflicting and non conflicting situations”, in Bara, B.G., Barsalou, L, & Bucciarelli, M. Proceedings of the XXVII Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, pp. 1495-1500.
Some studies find that chimpanzees can't follow pointing, but goats can. Something is wrong with this picture. I try to show that chimps are maybe too smart to follow pointing in normal circumstances, but that they can do it if the communicative context is propertly indicated.
Mercier, H. & Viciana, H. “The vexing question of pointing understanding in animals”. The neurobiology of umwelt IPSEN workshop, Paris, Feb 18 2008.
Mercier, H. “A solution to the enigma of pointing in non human primates”. Language, communication and cognition, Brighton, Aug 4 2008.