[[BioPsy}} Evolutionary neuroscience is an emerging field of scientific research premised on the hypothesis that the principles of evolution will help elucidate the adaptational difference between humans and animals in aspects of neurological structure and capacity. The field awaits a general unified theory of neuroscience that might then allow its full integration into the accepted framework of evolutionary biology. Such a theory is expected to evolve from neuroscience, once the phenomena of sensory perception, memory, visual abstraction, intellectual abstraction (including language, art and science) and emotional acceleration are synthesized into a theoretical whole. The resulting model will roughly resemble the human mind.
The field of neuroscience is especially complex and advances are dependent upon the use of tremendous technological and scientific resources. As a realm of biology, it is subject to the application of Darwin's theories on evolution and adaptation. Recent neuroscience research has fostered speculation that Darwinian principles underlie the inherent plasticity of cortical relationships within the brain, affecting organisms on a cognitive level, rather than simply on a genetic level.
The evolutionary advantages of higher intelligence leaves science to explain how, in an evolutionarily short span of time (6-10 million years, approximately), our species was bequeathed with successively greater levels of neural complexity within an organ strikingly similar to the primate brain. A full investigation of evolution's role in fostering the tremendous capacities of the human brain would, presumably, fill the gap of knowledge regarding the differing abilities that distinguish high level primate brains from human brains.
Dr. Temple Grandin is a well known expert in the field of animal cognition who has published numerous papers, and a book, which corroborate evidence on the evolutionary differences (and similarities) in higher cognition between human and animal brains.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Biological psychiatry
- Cognitive ethology
- Evolutionary psychology
- Great ape language
- John Allman
- Karl Pribram
- Nikolaas Tinbergen
- Spindle neuron
- The Mind of an Ape
- Theory of mind
[edit | edit source]
- Greenwood.com - 'The Evolutionary Neuroethology of Paul MacLean: Convergences and Frontiers' (anthology review), editors: Gerald A. Cory Jr., Russell Gardner Jr. (2002)
- LogosJournal.com - 'Daniel Dennett’s Choice' (review), Roger William Gilman
- Sinauer.com - Principles of Brain Evolution Georg F. Striedter, University of California, Irvine' (book review, 2004)
- Yale.edu - 'Comparative Cognition Laboratory', Yale University
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