Social-ecological relations among animals serve as a conceptual framework among the Wichi

María Celeste Baiocchi*, Sandra Waxman, Élida María Pérez, Aurelia Pérez, Andrea Taverna

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Although there is now wide agreement that across diverse cultures, taxonomic systems of organization are not necessarily the only prevailing framework for the animal kingdom, evidence concerning alternative frameworks, including ecological frameworks, remains sparse. Here, we begin to fill this gap by examining children and adults from an indigenous Wichi community in the Chaco forest of Argentina. We ask which organizing principles the Wichi invoke when organizing animals native to their forest (tshotoy). The results reveal that Wichi adults and children represent tshotoy primarily on the basis of ecological relations that become increasingly specified from with development. Moreover, the results reveal a pervasive import of social relations. Responses unveil a social-ecological framework that is well aligned with Wichi native epistemology. This new evidence, which underscores the potency of social relations within an ecological framework, also begins to map out a developmental path along which cultural knowledge grows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100807
JournalCognitive Development
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • Categorization
  • Folkecology
  • Social relations
  • Taxonomic relations
  • Wichi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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