Pierre Pica, Ph.D

Paris VIII University; CNRS, Saint-Denis, Île-de-France, France 
linguistics, behavioral psychology

Pierre Pica (born January 5, 1951), is a research associate (Chargé de Recherche) at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris. Associated Professor with the Brain Institute of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, he is a specialist in theoretical linguistics and more specifically of comparative syntax.

Dr. Pica has concentrated his research on the notion of parameters in linguistic. He has also shown that the respective properties of reflexive pronouns could be derived from their morphological properties. He is currently studying the distinction between the internal and external aspects of the Faculty of language and is also working on a fine grained distinction between competence and linguistic performance.

Over the last twenty years, Pica has risen to prominence as a result of his work on Binding Theory [1] and evidentiality. More recently he has been working on Mundurucu (an indigenous language spoken in Para (Brazil). He is currently collaborating with Stanislas Dehaene and Elizabeth Spelke in a study of numerical expressions and enumeration in Mundurucu. This research stresses the importance of these data for the study of the interaction of the Language Faculty and restricted set of pre-verbal 'core knowledge'. This research which stresses the importance of the notion of culture gap, as defined by Kenneth Hale (1975)'s seminal work,[2] stands in opposition to the hypothesis related to relativism as derived from Sapir and Whorf in that it tends to demonstrate that knowledge, even culture, can in part be reduced to a small set of universal principles and intuitions. The research has given rise to a series of publications in Science magazine.
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Mean distance: 106866 (cluster 17)
Cross-listing: LinguisTree - PsychTree


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Noam Chomsky research assistant 1986- MIT; Harvard (LinguisTree)
Susan Carey research scientist Harvard University - Psychology Department
Jerry A. Fodor research scientist Rutgers, New Brunswick (LinguisTree)
Charles Randy Gallistel research scientist MIT


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J Rooryck research scientist Université de Paris VIII (LinguisTree)
William Snyder research scientist 1990- MIT and Harvard
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Amalric M, Wang L, Pica P, et al. (2017) The language of geometry: Fast comprehension of geometrical primitives and rules in human adults and preschoolers. Plos Computational Biology. 13: e1005273
Piazza M, Pica P, Izard V, et al. (2013) Education enhances the acuity of the nonverbal approximate number system. Psychological Science. 24: 1037-43
McCrink K, Spelke ES, Dehaene S, et al. (2013) Non-symbolic halving in an Amazonian indigene group. Developmental Science. 16: 451-62
Pica P, Jackson S, Blake R, et al. (2011) Comparing biological motion perception in two distinct human societies. Plos One. 6: e28391
Izard V, Pica P, Spelke ES, et al. (2011) Flexible intuitions of Euclidean geometry in an Amazonian indigene group. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 108: 9782-7
Izard V, Pica P, Dehaene S, et al. (2011) Geometry as a Universal Mental Construction Space, Time and Number in the Brain. 319-332
Dehaene S, Izard V, Pica P, et al. (2009) Response to comment on "log or linear? Distinct intuitions of the number scale in western and Amazonian indigene cultures" Science. 323: 38c
Izard V, Pica P, Spelke E, et al. (2008) Exact Equality and Successor Function: Two Key Concepts on the Path towards understanding Exact Numbers. Philosophical Psychology. 21: 491
Izard V, Pica P, Spelke E, et al. (2008) [The mapping of numbers on space: evidence for an original logarithmic intuition]. MéDecine Sciences : M/S. 24: 1014-6
Núñez RE. (2008) Reading between the number lines. Science (New York, N.Y.). 321: 1293-4; author reply
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