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Profile: Pierre Pica (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
  1. Koleen McCrink, Elizabeth Spelke, Stanislas Dehaene & Pierre Pica (2013). Non-Symbolic Halving in an Amazonian Indigene Group. Developmental Science 16 (3):451-462.
    Much research supports the existence of an Approximate Number System (ANS) that is recruited by infants, children, adults, and non-human animals to generate coarse, non-symbolic representations of number. This system supports simple arithmetic operations such as addition, subtraction, and ordering of amounts. The current study tests whether an intuition of a more complex calculation, division, exists in an indigene group in the Amazon, the Mundurucu, whose language includes no words for large numbers. Mundurucu children were presented with a video event (...)
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  2. Manuela Piazza, Pierre Pica, Véronique Izard, Elizabeth Spelke & Stanislas Dehaene (2013). Education Enhances the Acuity of the Nonverbal Approximate Number System. Psychological Science 24 (4):p.
    All humans share a universal, evolutionarily ancient approximate number system (ANS) that estimates and combines the numbers of objects in sets with ratio-limited precision. Interindividual variability in the acuity of the ANS correlates with mathematical achievement, but the causes of this correlation have never been established. We acquired psychophysical measures of ANS acuity in child and adult members of an indigene group in the Amazon, the Mundurucú, who have a very restricted numerical lexicon and highly variable access to mathematics education. (...)
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  3. Véronique Izard, Pierre Pica, Danièle Hinchey, Stanislas Dehane & Elizabeth Spelke (2011). Geometry as a Universal Mental Construction. In Stanislas Dehaene & Elizabeth Brannon (eds.), Space, Time and Number in the Brain. Oxford University Press.
  4. Pierre Pica, Véronique Izard, Elizabeth Spelke & Stanislas Dehaene (2011). Flexible Intuitions of Euclidean Geometry in an Amazonian Indigene Group. Pnas 23.
    Kant argued that Euclidean geometry is synthesized on the basis of an a priori intuition of space. This proposal inspired much behavioral research probing whether spatial navigation in humans and animals conforms to the predictions of Euclidean geometry. However, Euclidean geometry also includes concepts that transcend the perceptible, such as objects that are infinitely small or infinitely large, or statements of necessity and impossibility. We tested the hypothesis that certain aspects of nonperceptible Euclidian geometry map onto intuitions of space that (...)
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  5. Pierre Pica, Stuart Jackson, Randolph Blake & Nikolaus Troje (2011). Comparing Biological Motion in Two Distinct Human Societies. PLoS ONE 6 (12):e28391.
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  6. Stanislas Dehaene, Véronique Izard, Pierre Pica & Elizabeth Spelke (2009). Response to Comment on "Log or Linear? Distinct Intuitions on the Number Scale in Western and Amazonian Indigene Cultures&Quot;. Science 323 (5910):38.
    The performance of the Mundurucu on the number-space task may exemplify a general competence for drawing analogies between space and other linear dimensions, but Mundurucu participants spontaneously chose number when other dimensions were available. Response placement may not reflect the subjective scale for numbers, but Cantlon et al.'s proposal of a linear scale with scalar variability requires additional hypotheses that are problematic.
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  7. Helen De Cruz & Pierre Pica (2008). Knowledge of Number and Knowledge of Language: Number as a Test Case for the Role of Language in Cognition. Philosophical Psychology 21 (4):437 – 441.
    The relationship between language and conceptual thought is an unresolved problem in both philosophy and psychology. It remains unclear whether linguistic structure plays a role in our cognitive processes. This special issue brings together cognitive scientists and philosophers to focus on the role of language in numerical cognition: because of their universality and variability across languages, number words can serve as a fruitful test case to investigate claims of linguistic relativism.
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  8. Véronique Izard, Stanislas Dehaene, Pierre Pica & Elizabeth Spelke (2008). Response to Nunez. Science 312 (5803):1310.
    We agree with Nuñez that the Mundurucu do not master the formal propreties of number lines and logarithms, but as the term "intuition" implies, they spontaneously experience a logarithmic mapping of number to space as natural and "feeling right.".
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  9. Véronique Izard, Pierre Pica, Elizabeth S. Spelke & Stanislas Dehaene (2008). Exact Equality and Successor Function: Two Key Concepts on the Path Towards Understanding Exact Numbers. Philosophical Psychology 21 (4):491 – 505.
    Humans possess two nonverbal systems capable of representing numbers, both limited in their representational power: the first one represents numbers in an approximate fashion, and the second one conveys information about small numbers only. Conception of exact large numbers has therefore been thought to arise from the manipulation of exact numerical symbols. Here, we focus on two fundamental properties of the exact numbers as prerequisites to the concept of EXACT NUMBERS : the fact that all numbers can be generated by (...)
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  10. Véronique Izard, Pierre Pica, Elizabeth Spelke & Stanislas Dehaene (2008). The Mapping of Numbers on Space : Evidence for a Logarithmic Intuition. Médecine/Science 24 (12):1014-1016.
  11. Pierre Pica, Stanislas Dehaene, Elizabeth Spelke & Véronique Izard (2008). Log or Linear? Distinct Intuitions of the Number Scale in Western and Amazonian Indigene Cultures. Science 320 (5880):1217-1220.
    The mapping of numbers onto space is fundamental to measurement and to mathematics. Is this mapping a cultural invention or a universal intuition shared by all humans regardless of culture and education? We probed number-space mappings in the Mundurucu, an Amazonian indigene group with a reduced numerical lexicon and little or no formal education. At all ages, the Mundurucu mapped symbolic and nonsymbolic numbers onto a logarithmic scale, whereas Western adults used linear mapping with small or symbolic numbers and logarithmic (...)
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  12. Pierre Pica & Alain Lecomte (2008). Theoretical Implications of the Study of Numbers and Numerals in Mundurucu. Philosophical Psychology 21 (4):507 – 522.
    Developing earlier studies of the system of numbers in Mundurucu, this paper argues that the Mundurucu numeral system is far more complex than usually assumed. The Mundurucu numeral system provides indirect but insightful arguments for a modular approach to numbers and numerals. It is argued that distinct components must be distinguished, such as a system of representation of numbers in the format of internal magnitudes, a system of representation for individuals and sets, and one-to-one correspondences between the numerosity expressed by (...)
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  13. Stanislas Dehaene, Véronique Izard, Cathy Lemer & Pierre Pica (2007). Quels Sont les Liens Entre Arithmétique Et Langage ? Une Étude En Amazonie. In Jean Bricmont & Julie Franck (eds.), Cahier Chomsky. L'Herne.
  14. Stanislas Dehaene, Véronique Izard, Pierre Pica & Elizabeth Spelke (2006). Core Knowledge of Geometry in an Amazonian Indigene Group. Science 3115759:381-384.
    Does geometry constitute a core set of intuitions present in all humans, regardless of their language or schooling? We used two nonverbal tests to probe the conceptual primitives of geometry in the Mundurukú, an isolated Amazonian indigene group. Mundurukú children and adults spontaneously made use of basic geometric concepts such as points, lines, parallelism, or right angles to detect intruders in simple pictures, and they used distance, angle, and sense relationships in geometrical maps to locate hidden objects. Our results provide (...)
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  15. Stanislas Dehaene, Véronique Izard, Pierre Pica & Elizabeth Spelke (2006). Examining Knowledge of Geometry : Response to Wulf and Delson. Science 312 (5778):1309-1310.
    La connaissances noyau de la géométrie euclidienne est liée au raisonnement déductif et non à la reconnaissance de motifs perceptuels.
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  16. Pierre Pica, Cathy Lemer, Véronique Izard & Stanislas Dehaene (2005). Quais São Os Vinculos Entre Aritmética E Linguagem ? Um Estudo Na Amazonia. Revista de Estudos E Pesquisas 2 (1):199-236.
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  17. Pierre Pica, Cathy Lemer, Véronique Izard & Stanislas Dehaene (2004). Exact and Approximate Arithmetic in an Amazonian Indigene Group. Science 306 (5695):499-503.
    Is calculation possible without language? Or is the human ability for arithmetic dependent on the language faculty? To clarify the relation between language and arithmetic, we studied numerical cognition in speakers of Mundurukú, an Amazonian language with a very small lexicon of number words. Although the Mundurukú lack words for numbers beyond 5, they are able to compare and add large approximate numbers that are far beyond their naming range. However, they fail in exact arithmetic with numbers larger than 4 (...)
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  18. José Bonneau, Pierre Pica & Takashi Nakajima (1999). Non-Restrictive Distinction in Possessive Nominals. In Kimary Shahin, Susan Blake & Eun-Sook Kim (eds.), Proceedings of the 17th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics. CLSI.
    We propose that the restrictive/non restrictive distinction found in relative clauses corresponds to the Inalienable vs Alienable distinction of the Nominal Possessive constructions. We propose to extend this distinction to adjectives suggesting that is not construction specific.
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  19. Pierre Pica & Johan Rooryck (1999). Configurational Attitudes. In Esthela Treviño & José Lema (eds.), Semantics Issues in Romance Syntax. John Benjamins.
  20. Pierre Pica (1995). Condition C and Epistemic Contexts : A Case Study of Epithets and Anti-Logophoricity Pronouns in French. In Young-Sun Kim, Byung-Choon Lee, Kyoung-Jae Lee, Kyun-Kwon Yang & Jong-Kuri Yoon (eds.), A Festchrift for Dong-Whee Yang. Hankuk Publishing.
    Epithets and pronominals 'en' and 'y' in French have a variety of Binding properties that are unexpected on conventional approach to Binding Theory. We argue that the linguistic variety observed cross-linguistically (and perhaps, more surprinsingly, within a single language) - derives from the morphological properties of the anaphoric element - which we claim lack number features. Epithets and pronominal like 'en' and 'y' are predicates modifying null but semantically active nouns, and must theefore refer to the Speaker. These properties, we (...)
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  21. Pierre Pica & José Bonneau (1995). On the Development of the Complementation System in English and its Relation to Switch-Reference. In J. Berman (ed.), Proceedings of the North East Linguistic Society. GLSA.
    In this paper, we show that many of the dramatic changes that took place in the course of the history of the English complementation system are the result of a simple morphological Change in the determiner system. We propose that Old English (OE) evolved from a system in which 'complements' clauses, relative clauses and DP were interpreted as adverbials to a system in which they are interpreted as arguments of the verb. As the determiner acquired certain certain type of morphological (...)
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  22. Pierre Pica & William Snyder (1995). Weak Crossover, Scope, and Agreement in a Minimalist Framework. In Susanne Preuss, Martha Senturia, Raul Aranovich & William Byrne (eds.), Proceedings of the 13th West Coast Conference in Linguistics. Cambridge University Press.
    Our paper presents a novel theory of weak crossover effects, based entirely on quantifier scope preferences and their consequences for variable binding. The structural notion of 'crossover' play no role. We develop a theory of scope preferences which ascribes a central role to the AGR-P System.
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  23. Pierre Pica (1992). Projeter-Alpha Ou la Langue Cachée. In Liliane Tasmowksi & Anne Zribi-Hertz (eds.), De la musique à la linguistique. Hommages à Nicolas Ruwet. Communication & Cognition.
    The article shows that the arugument of a verb can be projected in diffrent ways according to the meaning (agentive or not) of the predicate. An analysis is developed which suggests a modification of the projection principle according to which this principle is in part an interpretative principle, not a principle of the core grammmar.
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  24. Pierre Pica (1990). The Case for Reflexives or Reflexives for Case. In Karen Deaton, Manuela Noske & Michael Ziolkowski (eds.), Proceedings from the 26th Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society. Chicago Linguistic Society.
    It is claimed that the English genitive marker 's' suprisingly mirrors- at least in some dialects of English - the three main different usage of the mono-morphemic reflexives such as 'se' in French. A solution to this paradox already noted by Jespersen (1918) is proposed drawing on Watkins paradox according to which the study of what looks like 'social' parameters might be relevant for linguistics.
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  25. Pierre Pica (1988). Sur le Caractère Inaliénable de L'Être. In Pierre Pica & Tibor Papp (eds.), Transparence et opacité. Littérature et sciences cognitives. Cerf. 207--221.
  26. Pierre Pica & Tibor Papp (eds.) (1988). Transparence Et Opacité. Littérature Et Sciences Cognitives. Cerf.
    Une théorie de la littérature s'appuyant sur les contraintes de langue mises en évidence par la grammaire chomskyenne est-elle envisageable ? Une telle théorie peut-elle reprendre en des termes nouveaux le programme de recherche envisagé - en termes sémiotiques - par Jakobson, qui tentait de constituer une théorie générale du langage, de la poésie et de l'art ? -/- Une théorie linguistique peut-elle participer à la découverte de nouvelles formes littéraires dont elle s'enrichirait en retour ? C'est ce que suggère (...)
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  27. Pierre Pica (1987). On the Nature of the Reflexivization Cycle. In Joyce McDunough & Bernadette Plunkett (eds.), Proceedings of The North East Linguistic Society. 17--2.
    This article claims that one has to distinguish between X° reflexives which do not bear phi-features, such as number, and XP complex reflexive - which do bear such features. The presence/vs absence of features, it is argued, explains the behavior of so called long distance reflexives - first observed, within the generative tradition, in scandinavian languages - but present all over. The observation according to which XP reflexives are clause bound, while X° reflexives in argument position are not, is some (...)
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  28. Pierre Pica (1986). De Quelques Implications Théoriques de l'Étude des Relations À Longue Distance. In Mitsou Ronat & Daniel Couquaux (eds.), La grammaire modulaire. Minuit. 187--209.
    Nous distinguons deux types d'anaphores en montrant que la comprehension des relations à longue distance met en jeu plusieurs propriétés de la grammaire comme l'association, ou non, avec un rôle thématique, ou à une position argumentale, et montrons comment les mécanismes mis en jeu sont universels - et ont des conséquences sur l'architecture de la grammaire (sur la définition de la notion de c-commande par exemple). L'article montre en particulier qu'il ne peut y avoir de réciproque ou de clitique lié (...)
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  29. Pierre Pica (1986). Subject, Tense and Truth. In Jacqueline Guéron, Hans-Georg Obenauer & Jean-Yves Pollock (eds.), Grammatical Representations. Foris.
    It is suggested that the notion of truth value plays a role in syntactic theory and should be incorporated in the appropriate formulation of conditions on transformations.
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  30. Pierre Pica (1981). Some Theoretical Implications of the Study of NP-Movement in Some Scandinavian Languages. In Thorstein Fretheim & Lars Hellan (eds.), Papers from the sixth Scandinavian Conference of Linguistics.
    We argue that there exist two kinds of passive structures, a) one generated in the base b) the other transformationally derived by the structure preserving-rule of move-NP. Assuming a Case theory along the lmines of Chomsky (1978), we want to argue a) that some oblique Cases are assigned in the base b) that NP movement can move an oblique Case assigned in the base c) that movement should not be defined in terms of Case but in terms of Government.
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