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Evolutionary origins of the human cultural mind

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Abstract

Which components of our cognitive architecture are part of our primate heritage, and what is uniquely human? Comparative studies of non-human primates can provide insights into earlier stages of human evolution by revealing the ancestral states. We address one pillar of what it means to be human, the capacity for culture. Overall, there is good evidence from both laboratory groups and more recent field studies - that primates possess the key ingredients for culture to various degrees. But can a chimpanzee disregard current cultural norms in order to find optimal solutions to a novel problem, or is this an ability that emerged more recently in human evolution?

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-368
Number of pages5
JournalPsychologist
Volume25
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2012

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