• 13 декабря 2018, четверг
  • Москва, Б. Кисловский, 1с1

Historical Development of Human Cognition

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Центр межкультурных исследований им. А.А. Леонтьева
1507 дней назад
13 декабря 2018 c 17:30 до 19:00
Б. Кисловский, 1с1

Speaker: Alfredo Ardila, I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University Institute of Linguistics and Intercultural Communication

A brief overview of the book “Historical Development of Human Cognition” (Ardila, 2018)
will be presented. Initially it will be emphasized that contemporary man (Homo sapiens)
has lived on the earth since approximately 200 thousand years ago. During this time
the brain’ s structure has barely changed. Consequently, recent human evolution
represents a cultural evolution, which is not based on neuroanatomical changes, but
rather on the development of certain cultural products. it is easy to conclude that human
brain adaptation was accomplished to survive in Stone Age life conditions (representing
over 95% of human history) more so than in conditions existing nowadays. Basic
cognitive abilities existing in the Homo sapiens 200 housand years ago, and supporting
human contemporary complex cognition can be regarded as “preadaptations”. Some
examples of “preadaptations” are examined. Two examples of cultural evolution are
discussed: (1) Origins of calculation abilities, and (2) Origins of writing.
Calculation ability represents a particularly complex cognitive process. It has been
proposed to represent a multifactor skill, including verbal, spatial, somatic, memory,
and executive function abilities. Different levels of numerical knowledge can be
distinguished, from global quantification to arithmetic. Numerical abilities are based on
finger knowledge and the use of spatial relations in language. Numerical abilities have
been related to the activity of a quite specific brain area: the left intraparietal sulcus.
Initially writing (or rather, prewriting) was a visuoconstructive ability (i.e., representing
external elements visually), and only later did it become an ideomotor praxis ability (i.e.,
making certain learned and fixed sequences of movements with the hand to create a
pictogram— a standardized representation of external elements). Still later, after writing
became an ideomotor praxis ability, it became a linguistic ability (i.e., associating the
pictogram with a word, and further analyzing the word in its constituting sounds). Thus,
it can be proposed that writing is based in three different abilities: visuoconstructive,
praxic, and linguistic. It is not surprising that three different types of writing disturbances
are observed in cases of brain pathology.


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