Cognitive Gadgets

By Cecilia Heyes,

Book cover of Cognitive Gadgets: The Cultural Evolution of Thinking

Book description

"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…

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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.

From Alex's list on cultural evolution.

Want books like Cognitive Gadgets?

Our community of 9,000+ authors has personally recommended 100 books like Cognitive Gadgets.

Browse books like Cognitive Gadgets

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in social evolution, nature versus nurture, and evolutionary psychology?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about social evolution, nature versus nurture, and evolutionary psychology.

Social Evolution Explore 14 books about social evolution
Nature Versus Nurture Explore 25 books about nature versus nurture
Evolutionary Psychology Explore 15 books about evolutionary psychology