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The Origin of Mind: Evolution of Brain, Cognition, and General Intelligence

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Darwin considered an understanding of the evolution of the human mind and brain to be of major importance to the evolutionary sciences. This groundbreaking book sets out a comprehensive, integrated theory of why and how the human mind has developed to function as it does. Geary proposes that human motivational, affective, behavioral, and cognitive systems have evolved to p Darwin considered an understanding of the evolution of the human mind and brain to be of major importance to the evolutionary sciences. This groundbreaking book sets out a comprehensive, integrated theory of why and how the human mind has developed to function as it does. Geary proposes that human motivational, affective, behavioral, and cognitive systems have evolved to process social and ecological information (e.g., facial expressions) that covaried with survival or reproductive options during human evolution. Further, he argues that the ultimate focus of all of these systems is to support our attempts to gain access to and control of resources - more specifically, the social (e.g., mates), biological (e.g., food), and physical (e.g., territory) resources that supported successful survival and reproduction over time. In this view, Darwin's conceptualization of natural selection as a struggle for existence becomes, for us, a struggle with other human beings for control of the available resources. This struggle provides a means of integrating modular brain and cognitive systems such as language with those brain and cognitive systems that support general intelligence. findings in cognitive science and neuroscience as well as primatology, anthropology, and sociology. The book also explores a number of issues that are of interest in modern society, including how general intelligence relates to academic achievement, occupational status, and income. Readers will find this book a thought-provoking read and an impetus for new theories of mind.


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Darwin considered an understanding of the evolution of the human mind and brain to be of major importance to the evolutionary sciences. This groundbreaking book sets out a comprehensive, integrated theory of why and how the human mind has developed to function as it does. Geary proposes that human motivational, affective, behavioral, and cognitive systems have evolved to p Darwin considered an understanding of the evolution of the human mind and brain to be of major importance to the evolutionary sciences. This groundbreaking book sets out a comprehensive, integrated theory of why and how the human mind has developed to function as it does. Geary proposes that human motivational, affective, behavioral, and cognitive systems have evolved to process social and ecological information (e.g., facial expressions) that covaried with survival or reproductive options during human evolution. Further, he argues that the ultimate focus of all of these systems is to support our attempts to gain access to and control of resources - more specifically, the social (e.g., mates), biological (e.g., food), and physical (e.g., territory) resources that supported successful survival and reproduction over time. In this view, Darwin's conceptualization of natural selection as a struggle for existence becomes, for us, a struggle with other human beings for control of the available resources. This struggle provides a means of integrating modular brain and cognitive systems such as language with those brain and cognitive systems that support general intelligence. findings in cognitive science and neuroscience as well as primatology, anthropology, and sociology. The book also explores a number of issues that are of interest in modern society, including how general intelligence relates to academic achievement, occupational status, and income. Readers will find this book a thought-provoking read and an impetus for new theories of mind.

30 review for The Origin of Mind: Evolution of Brain, Cognition, and General Intelligence

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    This book is both extremely well researched but also extremely dense. Case in point (from the introduction): I worked under the assumption that motivational, affective, behavioral, cognitive, and brain systems have evolved to process social and ecological information patterns (e.g., facial patterns) that covaried with survival or reproductive populations during human evolution. My specific proposal is that all of these systems are ultimately and proximately focused on supporting attempts by the i This book is both extremely well researched but also extremely dense. Case in point (from the introduction): I worked under the assumption that motivational, affective, behavioral, cognitive, and brain systems have evolved to process social and ecological information patterns (e.g., facial patterns) that covaried with survival or reproductive populations during human evolution. My specific proposal is that all of these systems are ultimately and proximately focused on supporting attempts by the individual to gain access to and control of the social (e.g., mates), biological (e.g., food), and physical (e.g., demarcation of territory) resources that supported survival and improved reproductive prospects during human evolutionary history. More unfortunately, references are in-line so textual flow is frequently interrupted by author/year references. That said, if one can slog through the interrupted prose, the material is current and the hypotheses are well thought out and argued.

  2. 4 out of 5

    A

    This books contains a tremendous amount of well-researched information. Sadly, because of the very nature of the topic, this book is very dense. I can't blame the author for that. However, it is also true that the book is not very well written. The chapters are randomly organized in my opinion, the writing is extremely verbose and repetitive (many ideas are repeated over and over in different paragraphs). Also, the figures and tables are really bad in term of layout as well as in terms of how in This books contains a tremendous amount of well-researched information. Sadly, because of the very nature of the topic, this book is very dense. I can't blame the author for that. However, it is also true that the book is not very well written. The chapters are randomly organized in my opinion, the writing is extremely verbose and repetitive (many ideas are repeated over and over in different paragraphs). Also, the figures and tables are really bad in term of layout as well as in terms of how informative they are. Finally, half of chapter is simply irrelevant. On the positive side, all the information presented is really well documented, with tons of references. I think this book is for people who already have a background on neurosciences, evolutionary biology, etc. and who also are willing to read dense stuff.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Corey Butler

    This book is a challenging read, and probably not for a general audience, but it is an excellent and well researched survey of what we know about the evolution of the human brain. The coverage of the substrate of fluid and crystallized intelligence is particularly good.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Marian Vernon

  5. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Land

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dustin Arand

  7. 5 out of 5

    Erik Lidström

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Stewart

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kayla

  10. 4 out of 5

    Stefan Reyes

  11. 5 out of 5

    John

  12. 4 out of 5

    Scott Dille

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lucas Almeida

  14. 4 out of 5

    David

  15. 4 out of 5

    Luke Gunderson

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sunder Strouse

  17. 4 out of 5

    Christian Burkhart

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lim Yonghao

  19. 4 out of 5

    Artur Olczyk

  20. 5 out of 5

    NANOOKFAS

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tamer Gezici

  22. 5 out of 5

    Catalina Trujillo Bucheli

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jakob Jørgensen

  24. 5 out of 5

    Paul Siakaluk

  25. 5 out of 5

    Marion

  26. 4 out of 5

    William Kirkland

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sabuj Chattopadhyay

  28. 5 out of 5

    Goker

  29. 4 out of 5

    LP

  30. 4 out of 5

    Maneki-Neko

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