The appearance of the child prodigy 10,000 years ago: an evolutionary and developmental explanation

Journal of Mind and Behavior 30 (1):15 (2009)
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Abstract

Feldman and Goldsmith sought an evolutionary explanation of the child prodigy phenomenon. Following in this vein, a theory involving the evolution and development of the collaboration of working memory and the cognitive functions of the cerebellum is presented with commentary on Edmunds and Noel’s report on a child’s literary precocity. It is argued that the evolution of working memory and the cerebellum within the increasing rule-governed complexity of culture may have produced the child prodigy within agricultural villages as early as 10,000 years ago, in child prodigies, heightened emotional–attentional control in the central executive of working memory and modeled in the cerebellum is acquired in infancy through perceptual analysis , and this heightened emotional–attentional control begins in visuospatial processing, links visuospatial and language processing in working memory , and initiates and accelerates a positive feedback loop with the cerebellum in a specific knowledge domain. It is concluded that the working memory– cerebellar approach provides an evolutionary and developmental explanation of the child prodigy and strongly supports Edmunds and Noel’s visuospatial–high verbal ability explanation

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