Did Meditating Make Us Human?

  title={Did Meditating Make Us Human?},
  author={Matt J. Rossano},
  journal={Cambridge Archaeological Journal},
  pages={47 - 58}
  • M. Rossano
  • Published 30 January 2007
  • Biology, Psychology
  • Cambridge Archaeological Journal
Campfire rituals of focused attention created Baldwinian selection for enhanced working memory among our Homo sapiens ancestors. This model is grounded in five propositions: the emergence of symbolism occurred late in the archaeological record; this emergence was caused by a fortuitous genetic mutation that enhanced working memory capacity; a Baldwinian process where genetic adaptation follows somatic adaptation was the mechanism for this emergence; meditation directly affects brain areas… 
Shamanic Cosmology as an Evolutionary Neurocognitive Epistemology
The biological foundation for a shamanic epistemology is indicated by the cross-cultural distribution of a shamanic cosmology derived from knowledge obtained during altered consciousness. These
How Our Ancestors Raised Children to Think as Modern Humans
This article argues that social selection pressures in recent human evolution were primarily responsible for the emergence of modern cognition. These selection pressures took three specific forms:
The Role of Religious and Mystic Experiences In Human Evolution: A Corollary Hypothesis for NeuroTheology
The adaptive value of maintaining a portion of our population subject to religious, mystic or spiritual experiences is discussed. An evolutionary mechanism, which may be unique to humans, is posited
Beyond Symbolism and Language
Despite 20 years of concerted attention, paleoanthropology has established little of substance concerning the evolution of the modern mind, if by substance we mean conclusions that would be of
Biogenetic Structural Perspectives on Shamanism and Raves: The Origins of Collective Ritual Dance
The worldwide development of raves and similar collective rituals characterized by all night communal rituals involving dance, drumming, music, and often the use of psychedelic substances can be
The Evolved Psychology of Psychedelic Set and Setting: Inferences Regarding the Roles of Shamanism and Entheogenic Ecopsychology
  • M. Winkelman
  • Psychology, Biology
    Frontiers in Pharmacology
  • 2021
The relevance of shamanism and its evolution under effects of psilocybin as a framework for identifying evolved aspects of psychedelic set and setting is illustrated and bases for making inferences regarding foundations of the authors' evolved set, setting and psychology are provided.
Psychedelics, Sociality, and Human Evolution
Interdisciplinary evidence is presented for a model of psychedelic instrumentalization focused on four interrelated instrumentalization goals: management of psychological distress and treatment of health problems; enhanced social interaction and interpersonal relations; facilitation of collective ritual and religious activities; and enhanced group decision-making.
Introduction: Evidence for entheogen use in prehistory and world religions
This introduction to the special issue reviews research that supports the hypothesis that psychedelics, particularly psilocybin, were central features in the development of religion. The greater
The Sacred Engagement: Outline of a hypothesis about the origin of human ‘religious intelligence’.
The question that motivates the central hypothesis advanced in this paper regarding the emergence of early religious thinking is the following: ‘why does religion need material culture?’ What basic


Meditation alters perceptual rivalry in Tibetan Buddhist monks
Shamanism and Cognitive Evolution
based on cross-cultural research. This approach expands earlier theoretical interpretations offered for the significance of cave art that fail to account for central aspects of cave art material.
Wondrous Healing: Shamanism, Human Evolution, and the Origin of Religion
This text explains why beliefs in supernatural forces - ghosts, poltergeists, witches, and spirits - are based on universal experience. The author maintains that beliefs in mysterious anomalies such
The Human Symbolic Revolution: A Darwinian Account
By 50,000 years ago, the effects of a ‘symbolic explosion’ — an efflorescence of human art, song, dance and ritual — were rippling across the globe. Applied to archaeological evidence, standard
Shamanic healing, human evolution, and the origin of religion. Commentary
It is likely that Homo sapiens practiced shamanic healing for many millennia. Studies within anthropology, folklore, hypnosis, medical history, psychoneuroimmunology, and religion support the
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.
Toward a theory of episodic memory: the frontal lobes and autonoetic consciousness.
Evidence supports a preliminary theory of episodic remembering, which holds that the prefrontal cortex plays a critical, supervisory role in empowering healthy adults with autonoetic consciousness-the capacity to mentally represent and become aware of subjective experiences in the past, present, and future.
What is Cultural Modernity? A General View and a South African Perspective from Rose Cottage Cave
Storage of symbolic information outside the human brain is accepted here as the first undisputed evidence for cultural modernity. In the hunter-gatherer context of the Stone Age this storage could
Executive Functions of the Frontal Lobes and the Evolutionary Ascendancy of Homo Sapiens
A core question of cognitive archaeology is the evolution of modern thinking. In this article, it is argued that a cluster of specific cognitive abilities, / executive functions', was one of the key
Working Memory, its Executive Functions, and the Emergence of Modern Thinking
This article examines the possible origins of modern thinking by evaluating the cognitive models of working memory, executive functions and their interrelationship. We propose that a genetic mutation