The Human Enigma

Derek C. Penn and Daniel J. Povinelli

in The Oxford Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199734689
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

The Human Enigma

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience



Why is there such an enormous gap between human and nonhuman minds? Humans have been asking themselves this question for millennia. But if anything, the question has only become more enigmatic since Darwin and the genetic revolution. In the present chapter, we review the various answers that have been proposed to this question in recent years—from a “language instinct” and a “Theory of Mind” to the “massively modular” hypothesis—and argue that none of them provides a satisfactory solution to the enigma of the human mind.

Keywords: human mind; evolution; higher order relational reasoning; language; theory of mind; big brain; social intelligence hypothesis; language instinct

Article.  11026 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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