The distinction between living and inanimate objects is based on an innate predisposition that can be observed from the age of four months, according to the CNRS work published in PNAS and supported by the European Commission and the Fyssen Foundation. This categorization of objects would allow moving from simple vision to an understanding of the objects that make up the world around us.
It is useless to see an object without recognizing it
When you see a tall wooden beam sticking out of the ground with a green crown, you immediately put it in its category: it’s a tree. “By recognizing an object as a member of a category, we understand what that object is and find its visible properties‘, like the shape of the leaves informing you that it is an olive tree, ‘as well as its invisible properties‘, for example that at the right time of year there will likely be olives, the researchers explain in the publication. This process is essential to reasoning. “Someone who only sees colors, shapes, textures without recognizing the object cannot do anything with it“, explains Liuba Papeo, Lead author of this new work, from the Institut Marc Jeannerod in the Lyon region. “Recognizing an object is one of the most important operations for any cognitive process.”