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Social Brain, Distributed Mind$
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Robin Dunbar, Clive Gamble, and John Gowlett

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264522

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264522.001.0001

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The Social Brain and the Distributed Mind

The Social Brain and the Distributed Mind

(p.2) (p.3) 1 The Social Brain and the Distributed Mind
Social Brain, Distributed Mind

Robin Dunbar

Clive Gamble

John Gowlett

British Academy

Human nature is the product of a long history that has brought us, over the course of some 6–8 million years, from our common ancestor with the chimpanzee lineage to modern humans. The aim of this particular volume has been to bring together two powerful approaches that deal, respectively, with explanations of the evolution of human brains and understandings of cognition as a distributed system, in order to illuminate the changes that took place during the later stages of human evolution. It aims to compare inter-disciplinary perspectives on these key issues across a range of disciplines. A particular focus is provided by consideration of the role that material culture plays as a scaffold for distributed cognition, and how almost 3 million years of artefact and tool use and manufacture provide the data for tracing key changes in areas such as language, technology, kinship, music, and social networks.

Keywords:   social brain, artefact use, human nature, human evolution, material culture

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