Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

Motivation is not enough

Derek E. Lyons a1, Webb Phillips a1 and Laurie R. Santos a1
a1 Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520


Tomasello et al. provide a new account of cultural uniqueness, one that hinges on a uniquely human motivation to share intentionality with others. We favor an alternative to this motivational account – one that relies on a modular explanation of the primate intention-reading system. We discuss this view in light of recent comparative experiments using competitive intention-reading tasks.