Synthese 199 (1-2):81-100 (2020)
AbstractIt is clear throughout Cognitive Gadgets Heyes believes the development of cognitive capacities results from the interaction of genes and experience. However, she opposes cognitive instincts theorists to her own view that uniquely human capacities are cognitive gadgets. Instinct theorists believe that cognitive capacities are substantially produced by selection, with the environment playing a triggering role. Heyes’s position is that humans have similar general learning capacities to those present across taxa, and that sophisticated human cognition is substantially created by our socioculturally transmitted environment. It is a core strategy of Heyes to provide evidence of learning altering a cognitive capacity to conclude that a capacity is a cognitive gadget and not an instinct. We draw on recent work on the evolution of learning preparedness to examine the adequacy of this strategy. In particular, we analyse experimental evolution work showing how selection affects cognition within the laboratory. First, this work reveals that change due to learning can still be retained under genetic assimilation. This suggests that domain-specific adaptation can coexist with learning, moderate nativism, an option missed by the instinct versus gadget distinction. Second, we describe the conditions that select for increased preparedness in learning: certainty, reliability, and particular costs. We consider how these conditions can be used when conducting evolutionary reasoning about cognition, applying them to the important capacity for imitation. We find that the conditions lend theoretical support to moderate nativism about the capacity to imitate, which is supported by psychological evidence.
Similar books and articles
Imitation: Neither Instinct nor Gadget, but a Cultural Starting Point?Lindsey J. Powell - 2019 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 42.
Précis of Cognitive Gadgets: The Cultural Evolution of Thinking.Cecilia Heyes - 2019 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 42:1-57.
Rethinking Cultural Evolutionary Psychology.Ryan Nichols, Henrike Moll & Jacob L. Mackey - 2019 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 19 (5):477-492.
Biological Preparedness and Evolutionary Explanation.Denise D. Cummins & Robert C. Cummins - 1999 - Cognition 73 (3):B37-B53.
Imitation, Mind Reading, and Social Learning.Philip S. Gerrans - 2013 - Biological Theory 8 (1):20-27.
Cognitive Evolutionary Psychology Without Representational Nativism.Denise D. Cummins, Robert C. Cummins & Pierre Poirier - 2003 - Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 15 (2):143-159.
Twenty Questions About Cultural Cognitive Gadgets.Andrew Whiten - 2019 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 42.
Cognitive Gadgets and Genetic Accommodation.Eva Jablonka, Simona Ginsburg & Daniel Dor - 2019 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 42.
Enculturation and Narrative Practices.Regina Fabry - 2018 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 17 (5):911-937.
Selection for Representation in Higher-Order Adaptation.Solvi Arnold, Reiji Suzuki & Takaya Arita - 2015 - Minds and Machines 25 (1):73-95.
Clever Hans, Alex the Parrot, and Kanzi: What Can Exceptional Animal Learning Teach Us About Human Cognitive Evolution?Michael Trestman - 2015 - Biological Theory 10 (1):86-99.
Added to PP
Historical graph of downloads
Citations of this work
Coversheet for social inheritance and the social mind: Introduction to the synthese topical collection on the cultural evolution of human social cognition.Richard Moore & Rachael L. Brown - 2022 - Synthese 200 (3):1-17.
References found in this work
The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture.Jerome H. Barkow, Leda Cosmides & John Tooby - 1992 - Oxford University Press.
Thought in a Hostile World: The Evolution of Human Cognition.Kim Sterelny - 2003 - Wiley-Blackwell.
Complexity and the Function of Mind in Nature.Peter Godfrey-Smith (ed.) - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.