French School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences

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Van Heugten M.,University of Toronto | Van Heugten M.,French School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences | Johnson E.K.,University of Toronto
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General | Year: 2014

Although adults rapidly adjust to accented speakers' pronunciation of words, young children appear to struggle when confronted with unfamiliar variants of their native language (e.g., American English-learning 15-montholds cannot recognize familiar words spoken in Jamaican English; Best et al., 2009). It is currently unclear, however, why this is the case, or how infants overcome this apparent inability. Here, we begin to address these crucial questions. Experiments 1 and 2 confirm with a new population that infants are initially unable to recognize familiar words produced in unfamiliar accents. That is, Canadian English-learning infants cannot recognize familiar words spoken in Australian English until they near their second birthday. However, Experiments 3 and 4 show that this early inability to recognize accented words can readily be overcome when infants are exposed to a story read in the unfamiliar accent prior to test. Importantly, this adaptation only occurs when the story is highly familiar, consistent with the idea that top-down lexical feedback may enable the adaptation process. We conclude that infants, like adults, have the cognitive capacity to rapidly deduce the mapping between their own and an unfamiliar variant of their native language. Thus, the essential machinery underlying spoken language communication is in place much earlier than previous studies have suggested.© 2013 American Psychological Association.


Kennedy L.,French School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences
Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy | Year: 2017

Engaging with theory and comparative research, the specific aim of this special issue is to contribute to scholarship engaging with state rescaling theory in non-Western societies as well as to on-going debates about the changing scalar dimensions of urban and regional development. It does so by examining scalar dynamics on the basis of empirical case studies in China and India, including fieldwork-based research. The starting point of the papers is the observation that subnational states assume distinctly more significant roles than in the past for regulating economic activities and shaping economic governance. Processes of state restructuring currently underway in each country are reconfiguring the spatial deployment of the state, or state territoriality, a development that has attracted considerably less academic attention than changing state-market relations. This introductory article sets out the special issue’s theoretical and empirical objectives. It provides a review of existing literature, analysing the various modalities of scalar restructuring and situating them in relation to each national context. In particular, ‘rescaling’ and ‘decentralisation’ processes are carefully distinguished, in order to sharpen the focus of the debate and facilitate comparison between the Chinese and Indian cases. Finally, the specific aspects of state restructuring analysed in this set of papers are discussed with regard to the literature, to underscore their contribution. The papers cover a range of policy domains and instruments pertaining to both economic development and social welfare. Using scale-sensitive methods, they map changing geographies of both state space and socio-economic relations and discuss them in relation to each country’s unique development trajectory. © The Author(s) 2017.


De Vignemont F.,French School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences
Neuropsychologia | Year: 2014

Mirroring has been almost exclusively analysed in motor terms with no reference to the body that carries the action. According to the standard view, one activates motor representations upon seeing other people moving. However, one does not only see movements, one also sees another individual's body. The following questions then arise. To what extent does one recruit body representations in social context? And does it imply that body representations are shared between self and others? This latter question is all the more legitimate since recent evidence indicates the existence of shared cortical networks for bodily sensations, including pain (e.g., Singer et al., 2004) and touch (e.g., Keysers et al., 2004; Blakemore, Bristow, Bird, Frith, & Ward, 2005). But if body representations are shared, then it seems that their activation cannot suffice to discriminate between one's body and other people's bodies. Does one then need a 'Whose' system to recognise one's body as one's own, in the same way that Jeannerod argues that one needs a 'Who' system to recognise one's actions as one's own?. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Mercier H.,University of Pennsylvania | Sperber D.,French School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences | Sperber D.,Central European University
Behavioral and Brain Sciences | Year: 2011

Reasoning is generally seen as a means to improve knowledge and make better decisions. However, much evidence shows that reasoning often leads to epistemic distortions and poor decisions. This suggests that the function of reasoning should be rethought. Our hypothesis is that the function of reasoning is argumentative. It is to devise and evaluate arguments intended to persuade. Reasoning so conceived is adaptive given the exceptional dependence of humans on communication and their vulnerability to misinformation. A wide range of evidence in the psychology of reasoning and decision making can be reinterpreted and better explained in the light of this hypothesis. Poor performance in standard reasoning tasks is explained by the lack of argumentative context. When the same problems are placed in a proper argumentative setting, people turn out to be skilled arguers. Skilled arguers, however, are not after the truth but after arguments supporting their views. This explains the notorious confirmation bias. This bias is apparent not only when people are actually arguing, but also when they are reasoning proactively from the perspective of having to defend their opinions. Reasoning so motivated can distort evaluations and attitudes and allow erroneous beliefs to persist. Proactively used reasoning also favors decisions that are easy to justify but not necessarily better. In all these instances traditionally described as failures or flaws, reasoning does exactly what can be expected of an argumentative device: Look for arguments that support a given conclusion, and, ceteris paribus, favor conclusions for which arguments can be found. © 2011 Cambridge University Press.


Cristi A.,French School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America | Year: 2010

The hypothesis that vocalic categories are enhanced in infant-directed speech (IDS) has received a great deal of attention and support. In contrast, work focusing on the acoustic implementation of consonantal categories has been scarce, and positive, negative, and null results have been reported. However, interpreting this mixed evidence is complicated by the facts that the definition of phonetic enhancement varies across articles, that small and heterogeneous groups have been studied across experiments, and further that the categories chosen are likely affected by other characteristics of IDS. Here, an analysis of the English sibilants /s/ and // in a large corpus of caregivers' speech to another adult and to their infant suggests that consonantal categories are indeed enhanced, even after controlling for typical IDS prosodic characteristics. © 2010 Acoustical Society of America.


Mari A.,French School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences
Journal of Semantics | Year: 2014

Reciprocal sentences display a variety of interpretations, ranging from 'strong reciprocity' to 'inclusive alternative orderings'. In this interpretation, every element in the reference set participates with some other member in the relation provided by the predicate either as the first or second argument. Current reciprocal theories cannot fully explain why some sentences that satisfy these truth conditions are in fact false and unacceptable, such as '#the boys are taller than each other' or '#my mother and I procreated each other.' The core insight of the paper is that reciprocal sentences are true if they describe a relation that is either actually or possibly strong reciprocal over the reference set, insofar as the possibilities are reasonable. A branching time framework is used, in which a notion of reasonability is defined. We focus on permanent relations, for which we provide a new definition in modal terms. We show that whenever the relation is asymmetric and permanent, each other-sentences are unacceptable. We consider cases in which the relation is asymmetric and non-permanent and the each other-sentences are also unacceptable.We introduce a new modal notion of decidedness, and prove that for asymmetric relations, permanency entails decidedness. Showing how (a)symmetry, (non-)decidedness and (non-)permanency interact and proving that the truth of each other-sentences requires the relation to be either non-asymmetric or non-decided, we ensure a large and previously unattained empirical coverage. © The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


Bonneuil C.,French School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences
Biological Conservation | Year: 2015

Biodiversity offsetting (BO) is now a well-established mechanism worldwide. In several countries, it stands as a regulatory requirement and can be achieved via commercial transactions of biodiversity "credits". Little is known however among ecologists and BO practitioners about the genealogy of BO instruments and the historical factors that shaped them. It is only quite recently that the use of market-based instruments to protect the environment has gone from being politically anathema to politically correct. How can we account for this shift? To shed light on the rise of BOmarketmechanisms, we build upon historical records and historical research. This research documents a link between the emergence of BO market mechanism and the 1973-1990 rollback of environmental regulations. These results help contextualize the rise of market-based instruments in conservation science and policies within the ascent of a new "liberal environmentalism" policy paradigm. They therefore shed light on the co-evolutionary relationship linking conservation to societal and ideological dynamics. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


Fischler C.,French School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences
Social Science Information | Year: 2011

The founding fathers of the social sciences recognized commensality as a major issue but considered it mostly in a religious, sacrificial, ritualistic context. The notion of commensality is examined in its various dimensions and operations. Empirical data are used to examine cultural variability in attitudes about food, commensality and its correlates among countries usually categorized as 'Western' and 'modern'. Clear-cut differences are identified, hinting at possible relationships between, on the one hand, cultural attachment to commensality and, on the other hand, a lower prevalence of obesity and associated health problems involving nutrition. © The Author(s) 2011.


Barthelemy M.,CEA Saclay Nuclear Research Center | Barthelemy M.,French School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences
Physics Reports | Year: 2011

Complex systems are very often organized under the form of networks where nodes and edges are embedded in space. Transportation and mobility networks, Internet, mobile phone networks, power grids, social and contact networks, and neural networks, are all examples where space is relevant and where topology alone does not contain all the information. Characterizing and understanding the structure and the evolution of spatial networks is thus crucial for many different fields, ranging from urbanism to epidemiology. An important consequence of space on networks is that there is a cost associated with the length of edges which in turn has dramatic effects on the topological structure of these networks. We will thoroughly explain the current state of our understanding of how the spatial constraints affect the structure and properties of these networks. We will review the most recent empirical observations and the most important models of spatial networks. We will also discuss various processes which take place on these spatial networks, such as phase transitions, random walks, synchronization, navigation, resilience, and disease spread. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.


Boroumand R.H.,French School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences
Energy Policy | Year: 2012

The failure of the asset-light retailer's organizational model is indicative of the incapacity of this organizational structure to manage efficiently the combination of sourcing and market risks in the current market environment. Because of the structural dimensions of electricity's market risks, a retailer's level of risk exposure is unknown ex ante and will only be revealed ex post when consumption is known. In contrast to the "textbook model" of electricity reforms, the paper demonstrates through numerical simulations that in the current market context pure portfolios of contracts are incomplete risk management instruments compared to physical hedging. The latter is critical to overcome the asset-light retailer's curse. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

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