Culture: The Driving Force of Human Cognition

  title={Culture: The Driving Force of Human Cognition},
  author={Ivan Colag{\`e} and Francesco d’Errico},
  journal={Topics in cognitive science},
It is often, though sometimes only implicitly, assumed that biological/genetic evolution sets neural substrates, that neural substrates fix cognitive abilities, and that cognitive abilities determine the spectrum of cultural practices exhibited by a biological species. We label this view as the "bottom-up-only" view. In this paper we will show that such a "chain of dependence" is much looser than usually assumed, especially as far as recent periods (the last 800,000 years vs. the last 7 million… 

The Role of Culture and Evolution for Human Cognition

Taking advantage of this reorientation presupposes a shift in focus, though, from human cognition as a general, homogenous phenomenon to the appreciation of cultural diversity in cognition as an invaluable source of data.

Mechanisms of cognitive evolution of genus Homo

An interdisciplinary study is proposed along with the most influential sciences on human behavior to coordinate their most recent data to establish a psychobiological and social model (functional structuralism) on the authors' neurological and cognitive evolution.

What Early Sapiens Cognition Can Teach Us: Untangling Cultural Influences on Human Cognition Across Time

Three strategies for reconstructing early human cognition are presented: the chaîne opératoire approach and its extension to brain-imaging studies, large-scale extrapolations, and phylogenetic comparative methods that have the potential to advance understanding in fundamental ways.

Cultural Exaptation and Cultural Neural Reuse: A Mechanism for the Emergence of Modern Culture and Behavior

On the basis of recent advancements in both neuroscience and archaeology, we propose a plausible biocultural mechanism at the basis of cultural evolution. The proposed mechanism, which relies on the

The cognitive science of technology

  • D. Stout
  • Biology
    Trends in Cognitive Sciences
  • 2021

Applied Psycholinguistics: A Science at the crossroads of cognition and language

Abstract: Applied Psycholinguistics is a science that engages many others: experimental psychology, cognitive and neurocognitive sciences, linguistics, psychology of language and literacy, and

Enactive-Dynamic Social Cognition and Active Inference

This aim of this paper is two-fold: it critically analyses and rejects accounts blending active inference as theory of mind and enactivism; and it advances an enactivist-dynamic understanding of

Prehistoric Perspectives on “Others” and “Strangers”

It is found that contrary to the null hypothesis the archaeological record implies earlier emergence of complex socio-cognitive categorization, associated with increased sedentism, larger groups and reduced territorial extent as part of the process of Neolithization.

Categorizing Phenotypic Plasticity: An Analysis of Its Role in Human Cognitive Evolution

  • Mirko Farina
  • Biology, Psychology
    Journal for General Philosophy of Science
  • 2022
It is argued that that the typology presented here can be beneficial for such a debate and therefore instructive to better comprehend the evolution and development of human cognition.

The Tools of Enculturation

Abstract We propose an account of cognitive tools that takes into account the process of enculturation by which tools are integrated into our cognitive systems. Drawing on work in cultural evolution



Ratcheting up the ratchet: on the evolution of cumulative culture

This work argues that chimpanzee cultural traditions represent behavioural biases of different populations, all within the species’ existing cognitive repertoire that are generated by founder effects, individual learning and mostly product-oriented (rather than process-oriented) copying.

The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition

This work builds a bridge between evolutionary theory and cultural psychology. The author is one of very few people to have done systematic research on the cognitive capacities of both nonhuman

Grist and mills: on the cultural origins of cultural learning

  • C. Heyes
  • Psychology, Biology
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2012
It is found that recent empirical work in comparative psychology, developmental psychology and cognitive neuroscience provides surprisingly little evidence of genetic adaptation, and ample evidence of cultural adaptation, raising the possibility that it is not only ‘grist’ but also ‘mills’ that are culturally inherited.

More Than Nature Needs: Language, Mind, and Evolution

"More than Nature Needs" transcends nativist thesis and empiricist antithesis by presenting a revolutionary synthesis--one that instead of merely repeating "nature and nurture" cliches shows specifically and in a principled manner how and why the synthesis came about.

Précis of How the brain got language: The Mirror System Hypothesis

  • M. Arbib
  • Psychology
    Language and Cognition
  • 2013
The two-fold challenge of the book is to understand what are the mechanisms of the language-ready brain and what adaptive pressures evolved them biologically and how did those mechanisms support the emergence of language as well as modern-day patterns of language change, acquisition and use, and the social interactions which support them.

The invisible frontier. A multiple species model for the origin of behavioral modernity

A variant of this model sees behavioral modernity resulting from a rapid biological change, a brain mutation producing no apparent change in skull anatomy, which occurred in Europe or, more probably, in Africa at ca.

Darwin's Unfinished Symphony

Humans possess an extraordinary capacity for cultural production, from the arts and language to science and technology. How did the human mind—and the uniquely human ability to devise and transmit

The revolution that wasn't: a new interpretation of the origin of modern human behavior.

The African Middle and early Late Pleistocene hominid fossil record is fairly continuous and in it can be recognized a number of probably distinct species that provide plausible ancestors for H. sapiens, and suggests a gradual assembling of the package of modern human behaviors in Africa, and its later export to other regions of the Old World.

Exaptation and Neural Reuse: A Research Perspective into Human Specificity.

It is proposed that neural reuse at the ontogenetic level may unveil cases in which genuinely cultural dynamics are able to affect human brain anatomy without resorting to evolutionay mechanisms, which could contitute a further element of human specificity.

Précis of After Phrenology: Neural Reuse and the Interactive Brain

After Phrenology: Neural Reuse and the Interactive Brain (2014) surveys the terrain and advocates for a series of reforms in psychology and cognitive neuroscience, arguing that the authors should capture brain function in a multidimensional manner, develop a new, action-oriented vocabulary for psychology, and recognize that higher-order cognitive processes are built from complex configurations of already evolved circuitry.