This project comprises a focused exploration of driving forces involved in the evolution of human cognition. This project is needed because human cognitive abilities constitute one of the preeminent areas of human uniqueness, but the emergence of human cognition in the course of our evolution, and the respective contributions of multiple factors involved in and contributing to this phenomenon, remain poorly understood.
This project will comprise new research into emergent traits of human behavior and adaptation likely involved in the evolution of human cognition: 1) tool-making and technological adaptations; 2) communication and language; 3)the acquisition of skill and expertise; 4) information acquisition and exploitation strategies. This project will enable us to better understand and assess the respective involvement of each of these to the evolution of human cognition.
The activities in this project will include:
1) Establishment of a Program in Human Cognitive Evolution at Indiana University, incorporating four major interrelated research initiatives, as well as weekly seminars, a guest speakers program, and publications.
2) The development of a collaborative research program focusing on the emergence of human cognitive abilities as evidenced in the early paleoanthropological record. This will involve collaborations between archaeological teams in Tanzania, China, and the Republic of Georgia, dealing with early cultural and technological evidence, as well as public outreach and education in these countries.
The deliverables from this project will include: 1) Publications in peer-reviewed journals and an edited volume; 2)An educational website on the evolution of human cognition, providing a forum on research progress and issues; 3) The establishment of a long-term Program in Cognitive Evolution at Indiana University; 4) A long-term international collaborative program focusing on archaeological research and public outreach.