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date: 10 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

If cognition is fundamentally interactive how did it come to be so? The cognitive integration framework provides an answer: phylogenetically early forms of cognition, in humans, involve sensorimotor interactions with the environment; these are built upon by more recent cultural innovations, which are a product of cultural evolution and niche construction. The key cultural innovations are symbolic representations and the normative cognitive practices that govern their manipulation. These representational systems and cognitive practices are preserved across generations by cultural inheritance. Phylogenetically early sensorimotor capacities for making and manipulating tools can be reused to create and manipulate representations when completing cognitive tasks. Reuse depends upon neural plasticity and social learning, which results in the transformation of our cognitive capacities. The chapter also provides a dimensional analysis of integrated cognitive systems and provides responses to recent criticisms.

Keywords: cognitive integration, cultural evolution, cognitive practices, neural plasticity, social learning, cultural inheritance, symbolic representations, sensorimotor capacities, niche construction, integrated cognitive systems, reuse, transformation

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