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Social and Behavioral Sciences Commons

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Anthropology

Portland State University

2018

Context effects (Psychology)

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Full-Text Articles in Social and Behavioral Sciences

Two Cognitive Transitions Underlying The Capacity For Cultural Evolution, Liane Gabora, Cameron M. Smith Jan 2018

Two Cognitive Transitions Underlying The Capacity For Cultural Evolution, Liane Gabora, Cameron M. Smith

Anthropology Faculty Publications and Presentations

This paper proposes that the distinctively human capacity for cumulative, adaptive, open-ended cultural evolution came about through two temporally-distinct cognitive transitions. First, the origin of Homo-specific culture over two MYA was made possible by the onset of a finer-grained associative memory that allowed episodes to be encoded in greater detail. This in turn meant more overlap amongst the distributed representations of these episodes, such that they could more readily evoke one another through self-triggered recall (STR). STR enabled representational redescription, the chaining of thoughts and actions, and the capacity for a stream of thought. Second, fully cognitive modernity following the ...