5th IAfP Research Seminar Series / 99th KUASS / 12th Colloquium of Natural History of Landscape Formation “The Emergence of Property Concerns”


“The Emergence of Property Concerns”


  • Speaker:
    Dr. Federico Rossano
    (University of California, San Diego)
  • Date and Time:
    November 16, 2021, 17:00 – 19:00 (JST)
  • Online (Zoom)
    For participation, please contact us. caas@jambo.africa.kyoto-u.ac.jp
  • Poster(PDF 3.69MB)

All human societies care about ownership of at least some kinds of things (Brown, 1991; Hann, 1998), yet young children struggle to understand property and come only gradually to an understanding of ownership and how it may be legitimately transferred. Little is known about non-human primates understanding of property, in that they appear to have a sense of possession and will fight to protect the food that is in their physical control (Kummer & Cords, 1991; Sigg & Falett, 1985), but there is currently no evidence that they have any sense of ownership (i.e., they would respect others’ property even when they are absent) (Brosnan, 2011). In this talk I present a series of cross-cultural studies on young children (3-8) investigating their understanding of (i) under which conditions who owns what (“condition of ownership” rules), and (ii) what implications (rights, commitments entitlements, etc.) come from owning objects (“implication of ownership” rules). I will present data collected in the USA, Germany, Namibia, Kenya and Argentina and some ongoing work we are conducting in India. I will then present some novel studies on non-human primates investigating their tendency to respect other individuals’ properties and to protest when their property is violated. By comparing the results on human children and non-human primates, I will show that ownership concerns are uniquely human and develop early in ontogeny.

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