Matt J. Rossano

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This paper argues that expertise can be used as an indicator of consciousness in humans and other animals. The argument is based on the following observations: (1) expertise and skill acquisition require deliberate practice; and (2) the characteristics of deliberate practice such as performance evaluation against a more proficient model, retention of(More)
This paper examines three ancient traits of religion whose origins likely date back to the Upper Paleolithic: ancestor worship, shamanism, and the belief in natural and animal spirits. Evidence for the emergence of these traits coincides with evidence for a dramatic advance in human social cooperation. It is argued that these traits played a role in the(More)
Social norms are communally agreed upon, morally significant behavioral standards that are, at least in part, responsible for uniquely human forms of cooperation and social organization. This article summarizes evidence demonstrating that ritual and ritualized behaviors are essential to the transmission and reinforcement of social norms. Ritualized(More)
An experiment was conducted to test for the presence of alignment effects (previously found in sighted map users) in blind and visually impaired subjects using tactual maps. The term 'alignment effects' refers to the fact that when points represented as further up on a map do not correspond to points forward from the user in the environment, errors in the(More)
Three experiments were conducted to investigate the ability of subjects to make judgments of direction when using misaligned maps. Two hypotheses were proposed (i) errors would fall into two lawful categories--mirror-image errors and alignment errors; (ii) the effect of map orientation would generalize to a different mode of responding than has been used in(More)
This article summarizes the literature on the religious mind and connects it to archeological and anthropological data on the evolution of religion. These connections suggest a three stage model in the evolution of religion: One, the earliest form of religion (pre-Upper Paleolithic [UP]) would have been restricted to ecstatic rituals used to facilitate(More)
Studies of route and survey knowledge have been inconclusive regarding whether survey knowledge is an inevitable outgrowth of extensive route knowledge. The current study examines one factor affecting the development of survey knowledge from route knowledge: goal specificity. Goal specificity refers to the extent to which an explicit goal exists to which(More)
The first of these two lines of evidence stems from archaeological and comparative data indicating that (a) late Middle and Upper Palaeolithic modern humans had more extended social networks (which included inter-group trade alliances) compared to Neanderthals, and (b) creating and maintaining this unprecedented level of social sophistication would have(More)
art. This transition may, in fact, be a requisite one for symbolism to provide any substantive fitness advantage. Until the brain is capable of supporting a level of symbolic complexity such that social life itself can be symbolically organized, then symbolism may be of only marginal consequence. What, then, were the selective factors behind this watershed(More)