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A model of the emergence and evolution of integrated worldviews

By Dr. Liane Gabora and Dr. Diederik Aerts


It \ud is proposed that the ability of humans to flourish in diverse \ud environments and evolve complex cultures reflects the following two \ud underlying cognitive transitions. The transition from the \ud coarse-grained associative memory of Homo habilis to the \ud fine-grained memory of Homo erectus enabled limited \ud representational redescription of perceptually similar episodes, \ud abstraction, and analytic thought, the last of which is modeled as \ud the formation of states and of lattices of properties and contexts \ud for concepts. The transition to the modern mind of Homo \ud sapiens is proposed to have resulted from onset of the capacity to \ud spontaneously and temporarily shift to an associative mode of thought \ud conducive to interaction amongst seemingly disparate concepts, \ud modeled as the forging of conjunctions resulting in states of \ud entanglement. The fruits of associative thought became ingredients \ud for analytic thought, and vice versa. The ratio of \ud associative pathways to concepts surpassed a percolation threshold \ud resulting in the emergence of a self-modifying, integrated internal \ud model of the world, or worldview

Topics: Cognitive Psychology, Cognitive Archeology, Evolutionary Psychology
Year: 2009
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