The evolution of deep social mind in humans

Andrew Whiten

in The Descent of Mind

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780192632593
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191670497 | DOI:
The evolution of deep social mind in humans

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The hunting patterns of several species of felid and canid are important for social reasons and cooperative ones also, of course. What differentiates the human approach compared to the animal approach is the level of cognitive sophistication at which social integration operates. There is at least one aspect with which this chapter means to convey the expression ‘deep social mind’. The chapter treats three aspects of deep social mind. Firstly it looks at cooperation. Hominid cooperation became unusually deep in several respects, including coordination in such enterprises as hunting. Second, it examines culture. Finally it looks at mind-reading. The chapter uses several different sources of evidence to reconstruct aspects of hominid social and cognitive evolution. One is on hunter-gatherer societies. By examining the hunting-gathering way of life across many different geographical locations and local conditions, we can search for those cognitive and social features they share, which are thus revealed as the core adaptations involved when humans live by gathering and hunting.

Keywords: deep social mind; cooperation; hominid; culture; mind-reading; cognitive evolution; hunter-gatherer societies; humans

Chapter.  11100 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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