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Tool use as situated cognition

  • Andy Blitzer (a1) and Bryce Huebner (a1)

Vaesen disregards a plausible alternative to his position, and so fails to offer a compelling argument for unique cognitive mechanisms. We suggest an ecological alternative, according to which divergent relationships between organism and environment, not exotic neuroanatomy, are responsible for unique cognitive capacities. This approach is pertinent to claims about primate cognition; and on this basis, we argue that Vaesen's inference from unique skills to unique mechanisms is unwarranted.

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R. D. Beer (2000) Dynamical approaches to cognitive science. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 4(3):9199.

C. Boesch , J. Head & M. Robbins (2009) Complex tool sets for honey extraction among chimpanzees in Loango National Park, Gabon. Journal of Human Evolution 56:560–69.

A. Clark (2006) Language, embodiment, and the cognitive niche. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 10(8):370–74.

T. A. Evans & G. C. Westergaard (2006) Self-control and tool-use in tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella). Journal of Comparative Psychology 120(2):163–66.

E. Hutchins (2008) The role of cultural practices in the emergence of modern human intelligence. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 363(1499):2011–19.

S. Pinker (2010) The cognitive niche: Coevolution of intelligence, sociality, and language. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107 (Suppl 2):8993–99.

N. Shubin & C. Marshall (2000) Fossils, genes and the origin of novelty. Paleobiology 26(4):324–40. Supplement.

A. Whiten , J. Goodall , W. C. McGrew , T. Nishida , V. Reynolds , Y. Sugiyama , C. E. G. Tutin , R. W. Wrangham & C. Boesch (1999) Cultures in chimpanzees. Nature 399:682–85.

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Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • ISSN: 0140-525X
  • EISSN: 1469-1825
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences
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