[meta] Mitch Schultz

Computational Creative, Emergent Experiences, Systems Storytelling

8 Mar 2019

Parallel Evolution: Cognition, Tool Development & Social Complexity

Recent research examined the visual response of people observing prehistoric ceramics from around the world. The data shows that visual behavior mirrors the evolutionary trends of complex societies that created the artifacts. In addition, the research reveals that technology plays a crucial role in our psyche and could help humans shape the future of the species. Marshall McLuhan immediately comes to mind when decoding the relationship of consciousness and technological development.


Researcher Felipe Criado-Boado states, ”We hypothesized that culture and social life influence cognition in a highly stereotyped fashion. Eye movements are the most objective proof of a parallel evolution between the cognitive process, material development and changes in social complexity. This is why perception cannot be separated from form. Seen from this perspective, it could be proposed that the shape of objects and the pattern of visual exploration they produce have changed over history, and are connected with behavior in the same way as they are with the social realm, including social complexity.”


Another researcher, Luis M. Martínez, says "In our brain, there are neural circuits, or maps, that represent our personal and peri-personal space. These circuits determine the way in which we relate socially, and also with the world around us. With experiments of this kind, we are demonstrating that these representations are modified by the use and making of tools and other cultural artifacts; what we are discovering is that they are quickly incorporated into these neural maps, becoming part of our body schema as if they were an extension of it. These experiments unequivocally demonstrate that there is a very close interaction between cultural changes and brain plasticity, which provides a new perspective on how the brain governs for the transmission of cultural values, beliefs and customs.”


[Phys.org reference article]