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Sociology and Anthropology Research Series on the evolution of cognition as it relates to early tool use
Dr. Shelby Putt will be presenting her research, Combining tools and combining words: An evolutionary history of hierarchical cognition, at the next Sociology and Anthropology Research Series at noon, March 19, via Zoom.
When did human language evolve to become the primary means of communication? Putt, assistant professor of anthropology at Illinois State University, has been researching this issue as it relates to tool usage:
“Determining how and when human language evolved remains one of the ‘hardest problems in science.’ A crucial design feature of language is the ability to combine meaningless units to form a new unit with meaning (combinatoriality) and to further combine these meaningful units into a novel, larger meaningful unit (compositionality). In this talk, I will demonstrate that this feature of language can also be applied to tool use because both behaviors rely on the same general cognitive features. Determining when, in the course of human evolution, these cognitive features emerged for organizing tool-use behaviors may therefore help pinpoint when language became the primary system of communication for our human ancestors.”
These talks are free and open to the public. Those interested can join the Zoom meeting with the passcode LANGUAGE.