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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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Technologies of Séparation and the Evolution of Social Extension

Technologies of Séparation and the Evolution of Social Extension

(p.16) (p.17) 2 Technologies of Séparation and the Evolution of Social Extension
Social Brain, Distributed Mind

Clive Gamble

British Academy

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

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