Seminar Series

Cognition, emotion and hominin mental architecture: an evolutionary analysis

It is often argued that human emotions, and the cognitions that accompany them, involve refinements of, and extensions to, more basic functionality shared with other species. This talk will adopt a particular perspective on mental architecture and try to show how five assumptions about differentiation in neural architecture could have enabled specific computational advances in abstraction and parallel processing capability to have evolved in a systematic way within mental architecture. Along with general advances in cognition, would have come a particular form of separation between emotional and non-emotional meanings, and the ability for the mind to do several things at once. The talk will trace this argument through a series of mental architectures hypothesised to hold for from monkeys, through a sequence of hominins to behaviorally modern humans.