"This is an important book and likely the most thoughtful of the year in the social sciences... Highly recommended, it is likely to prove one of the most thought-provoking books of the year."-Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution
How did human minds become so different from those of other animals? What accounts…
Why read it?
1 author picked Cognitive Gadgets as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
While ‘nature vs nurture’ is an unhelpful dichotomy, most psychologists still assume that our species’ unique cognitive abilities, from language to mindreading, are innate products of genetic evolution. Here Celia Heyes provides a counter-argument to this assumption, arguing instead that human cognition is often the product of cultural evolution. Something like language is therefore not an ‘instinct’ but rather a ‘cognitive gadget,’ akin to a technological gadget, transmitted culturally rather than genetically. This is one of those books that makes you rethink your assumptions, and whether you agree or not with its claims, you come out smarter at the end.
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