Chapter

The Prehistoric Roots of the Modern Mind

Todd Tremlin

in Minds and Gods

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195305340
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199784721 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195305345.003.0002
 The Prehistoric Roots of the Modern Mind

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This chapter explains why the process of human evolution is crucial to understanding the structures and functions of the modern human mind. Tracing hominid development up to the appearance of Homo sapiens, the chapter explores some of the selective pressures faced in our ancestral past, and the cognitive adaptations that gave rise to human intelligence. It shows how the ultimate success of Homo sapiens was the result of mental mechanisms (e.g., theory of mind, social intelligence, and language) that fitted humans to the “cognitive niche” — an adaptive space characterized by the gathering and strategic use of information — and that remain the hallmarks of human thought and behavior today.

Keywords: human evolution; Homo sapiens; selective pressures; cognitive adaptations; theory of mind; social intelligence; cognitive niche

Chapter.  13756 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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