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Title: The origins of human creativity
Author: Eastham, Peter George
ISNI:       0000 0001 3437 1705
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2007
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Did human creativity suddenly evolve relatively recently? The overwhelming weight of genetic and physiological evidence supported by the modem Darwinian synthesis demonstrates that humans are great apes, • but is not the essence ofbeing human all in the mind? This thesis combines research from neuropsychology; primatology, palaeontology and archaeology. Creativity is highly correlated with measures of cognitivefluidity that developmentally relate to working memory capacities and the maturation ofneural circuits, particularly in the prefrontal cortex. I consider animal innovation, primate cognition and the evolution of executive functions based on the behaviours ofhominins during the Oldowan, Acheulean, Mousterian, Middle Stone Age and Upper Palaeolithic tool-making epochs. I propose that because large brains with large memories were necessary to produce and decipher long calls with limited grammars, encepahalization or increases in brain sizes primarily resulted ,from socio-sexual selection pressures for protolinguistic communication. Language and tool use co-evolved neural circuits to improve executivefunctions and syntactic speech among Neanderthals and other archaic sapiens. Within a genetically restricted human group, extensive prefrontal myelination facilitated cognitive fluidity. Critically, narratives bootstrapped working memory, creating inner self-directing speech (verbal thought) and resulting in an incessant stream ofconsciousness that transformed human cognition. These narratives could also store information across generations and build upon what had gone before (through the ratchet effect). This made possible the 'human revolution' or 'creative explosion' in religious, cultural and technological knowledge.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available