Reducing the neural search space for hominid cognition: what distinguishes human and great ape brains from those of small apes?

Abstract

Differences in the psychological capacities of closely related species are likely due to differences in their brains. Here, we review neuroanatomical comparisons between hominids (i.e., great apes and humans) and their closest living relatives, the hylobatids (i.e., small apes). We report the differences in quantitative, as well as qualitative, neural characteristics on the basis of 19 comparative studies that each included representatives of all hominid genera and at least one genus of hylobatid. The current data are patchy, based on a small number of hylobatids and few neuroanatomical features. Yet a systematic interspecies comparison could help reduce the neuroanatomical search space for the neural correlates underlying psychological abilities restricted to hominids. We illustrate the potential power of this approach by discussing the neural features of visual self-recognition.

DOI: 10.3758/s13423-013-0559-0

Cite this paper

@article{Butler2014ReducingTN, title={Reducing the neural search space for hominid cognition: what distinguishes human and great ape brains from those of small apes?}, author={David Butler and Thomas Suddendorf}, journal={Psychonomic bulletin & review}, year={2014}, volume={21 3}, pages={590-619} }