Cognitive Evolution  book cover
1st Edition

Cognitive Evolution

ISBN 9780367028558
Published May 21, 2019 by Routledge
366 Pages 110 Color Illustrations

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Book Description

Cognitive Evolution provides an in-depth exploration of the history and development of cognition, from the beginning of life on Earth to present-day humans. Drawing together evolutionary and comparative research, this book presents a unique perspective on the evolution of human cognition. Adopting an information processing perspective – that is, from inputs to outputs, with all the mental processes in between, Boles provides a systematic overview of the evolutionary development of cognition and of its sensation, movement, and perception components.

The book is supported by long-established evolutionary theories and backed up by a wealth of recent research from the growing field of cognitive evolution and cognitive neuroscience to provide a comprehensive text on the subject. Cognitive Evolution is an essential read for advanced undergraduates and postgraduate students of cognitive and evolutionary psychology.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

List of Boxes


Section One: Introduction to Evolution

Chapter 1. Life Begins

Chapter 2. Life Gets Complicated

Chapter 3. Vertebrates to Early Mammals

Chapter 4. Later Mammals through Primates

Chapter 5. Humans

Section Two: Sensation and Movement

Chapter 6. The Mechanical and Chemical Senses

Chapter 7. Vision

Chapter 8. The Origins of Motion

Chapter 9. Bipedalism

Section Three: Perception and Cognition

Chapter 10. Praxis and Handedness

Chapter 11. Tools and Planning

Chapter 12. Spatial Perception

Chapter 13. Pattern Recognition

Chapter 14. Memory

Chapter 15. Language

Chapter 16. Consciousness

Chapter 17. A Summary in Nine Firsts



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David B. Boles is Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, USA.


"Connecting the great advances in cognitive science to their roots in human evolution must be one the greatest missed opportunities in the current psychology curriculum. Cognitive Evolution traces pattern recognition, memory, language and consciousness across species. For example, who knew that for pigeons the duration of immediate memory was two to six seconds, for monkeys ten to twenty, and for humans twenty to sixty seconds. This book is full of insights into what is already known and what is yet to be studied. I highly recommend it." - Michael Posner, Prof. Emeritus, University of Oregon, USA

"This book combines a basic short course in biological evolution with an extended treatment of primate evolution emphasizing fossil and living hominids, their anatomy, habits and cognitive capabilities. Rich in detail, engagingly written and well illustrated, this volume is an excellent resource for upper level undergraduates and graduate students in the cognitive sciences. It serves also as a reminder of how even seemingly simple cognitive tasks depend on a brain architecture and circuitry of immense complexity with a deep evolutionary heritage." - Dr. Thurston Lacalli, Biology Department, University of Victoria, Canada

"This book is a milestone achievement in the study of cognitive evolution and will henceforth be recognized as a classic. For the first time, the natural history of the evolution of cognition is described from its origins, when life first began, to the present day. It is useful as a source book for current cognitive researchers. It is essential as a foundational text for students who want to become cognitive researchers." - Arnold Glass, Prof., Rutgers University, USA

"The evolution of human cognitive traits is a vast subject and I commend Boles on the recency of the literature cited and for the overall flow between the different sections. Cognitive Evolution will be a useful and important resource for students of evolutionary psychology. I think back to my days as an undergrad-uate student when the opportunity to buy a single textbook that encapsulates the main themes of the course, as this volume does, would have been very welcome." - Ellis J. G. Langley, Biology, University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Fife, United Kingdom, The Quarterly Review of Biology, Volume 95