Technologies of Séparation and the Evolution of Social Extension

Clive Gamble

in Social Brain, Distributed Mind

Published by British Academy

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780197264522
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734724 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Technologies of Séparation and the Evolution of Social Extension

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Archaeological accounts of cognitive evolution have traditionally favoured an internal model of the mind and a search for symbolic proxies. This chapter argues for an external model of cognition and uses this perspective to develop the understanding of Palaeolithic material culture as based on sensory experience. It explores ways of investigating the evolution of cognition by using the social brain model combined with a theory of distributed cognition. The emphasis is on social extension, which was a necessary step to a global distribution and which was achieved by mechanisms such as focused gaze that amplified the emotional content of bonds. The discussion examines the importance of these mechanisms through three aspects of social extension — ontological security, psychological continuity and extension of self.

Keywords: cognitive evolution; emotional content; Palaeolithic material culture; sensory experience; distributed cognition; focused gaze; ontological security; psychological continuity

Chapter.  9531 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Psychology

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