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How Children Invented HumanityThe Role of Development in Human Evolution$
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David F. Bjorklund

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190066864

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190066864.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 September 2021

Developing the Evolved Social Brain

Developing the Evolved Social Brain

(p.171) 6 Developing the Evolved Social Brain
How Children Invented Humanity

David F. Bjorklund

Oxford University Press

For human hypersociality to evolve required that natural selection operate both at the levels of the individual and the group as described by multilevel selection theory. According to the social brain hypothesis, increased social cognition was the driving force in human social-cognitive evolution. Infants evolved “psychological weapons” designed to obtain attention and caregiving from adults. According to Tomasello’s shared intentionality theory, infants view others as intentional agents, as reflected in shared attention beginning around 9 months, and later, between 3 and 5 years of age, in collective intentionality, in which children establish a group-minded “we” with other people. The development and evolution of hypersociality is reflected in: treating others as intentional agents, perspective taking, empathy, normativity, social learning, prosociality (helping, sharing, sense of fairness), and collaboration. Each of these and other social-cognitive abilities were necessary for the evolution of a hypersocial species and evolved as a result of changes in great ape ontogeny.

Keywords:   hypersociality, multilevel selection theory, social brain hypothesis, shared intentionality theory, shared attention, empathy, normativity, social learning, prosociality, collaboration

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