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Evolutionary NeuropsychologyAn Introduction to the Evolution of the Structures and Functions of the Human Brain$
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Frederick L. Coolidge

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190940942

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190940942.001.0001

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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: 04 August 2021

The Frontal Lobes

The Frontal Lobes

Chapter:
(p.96) 4 The Frontal Lobes
Source:
Evolutionary Neuropsychology
Author(s):

Frederick L. Coolidge

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190940942.003.0004

This chapter notes that the expansion of the brain, particularly the cortex, as well as increased behavioral flexibility, in mammals compared to that in reptiles, birds, and fishes. Mammalian brains have been typified by mosaic evolution and concerted evolution. The two most important influences on modern human brains have been the evolution of mammalian brains and primate brains, and the latter had the most profound influence on modern human brains. The prefrontal cortex is one of the major exaptations of the human brain, where the cognitive abilities known executive functions primarily reside. Those functions include decision-making, forming plans and goals, organizing, devising strategies to attain goals, inhibition, and the monitoring of effective performance. The frontal lobes of the earliest primates were under selective pressure to identify and eat fruits with their forelimbs. The brains of hominins may have exapted these same regions for object manipulation, tool-making, and eventually language functions such as word choice and word sequencing.

Keywords:   mammalian brains, primate brains, human brain uniqueness, mirror neurons, prefrontal cortex, executive functions, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, orbitofrontal prefrontal cortex

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