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Social Brain, Distributed Mind

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Overview


To understand who we are and why we are, we need to understand both modern humans and the ancestral stages that brought us to this point. The core to that story has been the role of evolving cognition--the social brain--in mediating the changes in behavior that we see in the archaeological record. This volume brings together two powerful approaches--the social brain hypothesis and the concept of the distributed mind, and compares perspectives on these two approaches from a range of disciplines, including archaeology, psychology, philosophy, sociology and the cognitive and evolutionary sciences.

A particular focus is on the role that material culture plays as a scaffold for distributed cognition, and how almost three million years of artefact and tool uses provides the data for tracing key changes in areas such as language, technology, kinship, music, social networks and the politics of local, everyday interaction in small-world societies. A second focus is on how, during the course of hominin evolution, increasingly large spatially distributed communities created stresses that threatened social cohesion.

This volume offers the possibility of new insights into the evolution of human cognition and social lives that will further our understanding of the relationship between mind and world.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780197264522
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/25/2010
  • Series: Proceedings of the British Academy Series , #158
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 1,327,330
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Robin Dunbar is Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of the British Academy.

Clive Gamble is Professor of Geography at the Royal Holloway, University of London and Fellow of the British Academy.

John Gowlett is Professor of Archaeology at the University of Liverpool.

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Table of Contents

Framing the Issues: Evolution of the Social Brain
1. The Social Brain and its Distributed Mind, Robin Dunbar, Clive Gamble, and John Gowlett
2. Technologies of Separation and the Evolution of Social Extension, Clive Gamble
3. Herto Brains and Minds: Behaviour of Early Homo Sapiens from the Middle Awash, Ethiopia, Yonas Beyene
The Nature of Network: Bonds of Sociality
4. Social Complexity and the Importance of Indirect Relationships: Social Networks in Primates, Julia Lehmann, Katherine Andrews, and Robin Dunbar
5. Fission-Fusion Behaviour in Chimpanzees and Hunter-Gatherers, Robert Layton and Sean O'Hara
6. Constraints on Social Networks, Sam Roberts
7. Social Networks and Community in the Viking Age, Anna Wallette
Evolving Bonds of Sociality
8. Deacon's Dilemma: The Problem of Pairbonding in Human Evolution, Robin Dunbar
9. The Evolution of Altruism via Social Addiction, Julie Hui and Terrence Deacon
10. From Experiential-Based to Relational-Based forms of Social Organization: A Major Transition in the Evolution of Homo Sapiens, Dwight Read
11. Networks and the Evolution of Socio-Material Differentiation, Carl Knappett
The Reach of the Brain: Modern Humans and Distributed Minds
12. When Individuals Do Not Stop at the Skin, Alan Barnard
13. Cliques, Coalitions, Comrades, and Colleagues: Sources of Cohesion in Groups, Holly Arrow
14. Evolutionary Signaling Theory and Religion: Recent Advances and Future Directions, Richard Sosis
15. Some Functions of Collective Forgetting, Paul Connerton
16. Consciousness and Culture, Mark Rowlands
Testing the Past: Archaeology and the Social Brain in Past Action
17. Firing up the Intellect, John Gowlett
18. Multi-Tasking and the Social Brain in Middle Pleistocene Africa, Lawrence Barham
19. The Archaeology of Group Size, Matt Grove
20. Fragmenting Hominins and the Presencing of Early Palaeolithic Social Worlds, John Chapman
21. Small Worlds, Material Culture and Ancient Near Eastern Social Networks, Fiona Coward
22. Brain, Mind and Material Culture in Evolutionary Perspective, Steve Mithen
Framing the Issues: Evolution of the Social Brain
1. The Social Brain and its Distributed Mind, Robin Dunbar, Clive Gamble, and John Gowlett
2. Technologies of Separation and the Evolution of Social Extension, Clive Gamble
3. Herto Brains and Minds: Behaviour of Early Homo Sapiens from the Middle Awash, Ethiopia, Yonas Beyene
The Nature of Network: Bonds of Sociality
4. Social Complexity and the Importance of Indirect Relationships: Social Networks in Primates, Julia Lehmann, Katherine Andrews, and Robin Dunbar
5. Fission-Fusion Behaviour in Chimpanzees and Hunter-Gatherers, Robert Layton and Sean O'Hara
6. Constraints on Social Networks, Sam Roberts
7. Social Networks and Community in the Viking Age, Anna Wallette
Evolving Bonds of Sociality
8. Deacon's Dilemma: the Problem of Pairbonding in Human Evolution, Robin Dunbar
9. The Evolution of Altruism via Social Addiction, Julie Hui and Terrence Deacon
10. From Experiential-Based to Relational-Based forms of Social Organization: a Major Transition in the Evolution of Homo Sapiens, Dwight Read
11. Networks and the Evolution of Socio-Material Differentiation, Carl Knappett
The Reach of the Brain: Modern Humans and Distributed Minds
12. When Individuals Do Not Stop at the Skin, Alan Barnard
13. Cliques, Coalitions, Comrades, and Colleagues: Sources of Cohesion in Groups, Holly Arrow
14. Evolutionary Signalling Theory and Religion: Recent Advances and Future Directions, Richard Sosis
15. Some Functions of Collective Forgetting, Paul Connerton
16. Consciousness and Culture, Mark Rowlands
Testing the Past: Archaeology and the Social Brain in Past Action
17. Firing up the Intellect, John Gowlett
18. Multi-Tasking and the Social Brain in Middle Pleistocene Africa, Lawrence Barham
19. The Archaeology of Group Size, Matt Grove
20. Fragmenting Hominins and the Presencing of Early Palaeolithic Social Worlds, John Chapman
21. Small Worlds, Material Culture and Ancient Near Eastern Social Networks, Fiona Coward
22. Brain, Mind and Material Culture in Evolutionary Perspective, Steve Mithen

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