The Social Brain and the Distributed Mind
Dunbar R., Gamble C., Gowlett J.
© The British Academy 2010. All rights reserved. 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.