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Sinking in: the peripheral Baldwinisation of human cognition

Heyes, Cecilia, Chater, Nick and Dwyer, Dominic 2020. Sinking in: the peripheral Baldwinisation of human cognition. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 24 (11) , pp. 884-899. 10.1016/j.tics.2020.08.006

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The Baldwin effect is a hypothetical process in which a learned response to environmental change evolves a genetic basis. Modelling has shown that the Baldwin effect offers a plausible, elegant explanation for the emergence of complex behavioural traits but there is little direct empirical evidence of its occurrence. Here we highlight experimental evidence of the Baldwin effect and argue that it acts preferentially on peripheral rather than central cognitive processes. Careful scrutiny of research on taste aversion and fear learning, language and imitation, indicates that their efficiency depends on adaptively specialised input and output processes –analogues of scanner and printer interfaces that feed information to core inference processes and structure their behavioural expression.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1364-6613
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 September 2020
Date of Acceptance: 19 August 2020
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2020 13:48

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