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Am Psychol. 1993 May;48(5):493-509.

Reconstructing the evolution of mind.

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Laboratory of Comparative Behavioral Biology, University of Southwestern Louisiana, New Iberia 70560.


Since Darwin, the idea of intellectual continuity has gripped comparative psychology. Psychological evolution has been viewed as the accumulation of gradual changes over time, resulting in an unbroken chain of mental capacities throughout the diversity of life. Some researchers have even maintained that no fundamental psychological differences exist among species. An alternative model argues that a rather profound new psychology related to mental state attribution may have evolved recently in the primate order. The author explores recent experimental research from chimpanzees, rhesus monkeys, and children that is consistent with this second model of psychological evolution. Drawing on the fields of developmental, comparative, and social psychology, as well as evolutionary and developmental biology, the author outlines a research agenda aimed at reconstructing the evolution of metacognition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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