The evolution of concepts: A timely look

Michael C. Corballis and Thomas Suddendorf

in The Making of Human Concepts

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780199549221
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191724152 | DOI:
The evolution of concepts: A timely look

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This chapter provides a comparative/evolutionary view of what aspects of concepts are uniquely human. Referencing the work in Chapters 8 to 11 that reported on the conceptual abilities of pigeons, nonprimate mammals, monkeys, and chimps, respectively, it argues that the ability to form concepts is not uniquely human. The chapter also cites evidence from (1) Rico, the dog who can select an unfamiliar object target from among familiar object distractors when provided with an unfamiliar label, and (2), Kanzi, the chimp who can use symbols on a keyboard to refer to objects and actions, to provide further support for the conclusion that concept-formation abilities are not uniquely human.

Keywords: concept formation; conceptual learning; evolution

Chapter.  10495 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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