Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The role of humour in the evolution of hominid cognition and the emergence of language
Author: Newmarch Molineux, Christopher Nicholas David
ISNI:       0000 0004 7961 7731
Awarding Body: Brunel University London
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2019
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis employs a primarily inductive approach to determine the path of emergence and subsequent evolution of humour in hominins based on biological roots. This includes an outline of the cognitive, psychological, and social/behavioural impact ramifications, with emphasis on factors associated with cognitive evolution and the emergence of language and the aesthetic faculty. It is shown that the emergence of humour would have preceded language and prelinguistic humour would have functioned as a "break in pattern" recognition system. This system served the informatic function of detecting and parsing constituent elements of holistic perceptions, and creating abstracted conceptions, which could then be cross-correlated across multiple schemata and manifested in domain-general1 expressions. Humorous behaviour would have ritualized such expressions, which then became part of shared bodies of knowledge imbued with social capital. Futhermore, due to associated rewards, this system was autotelic and autocatalytic, and thus stimulated the hierarchical evolution of hominin cognition (including the capacity for analogical thought and symbolic communication), behaviour, communication, sociality and culture, before being largely supplanted in its importance by the aesthetic faculty and language, which are shown to be products of this process. As such, humour can be seen to have played an important role in the hominin transition from biological to bio-social evolutionary dynamics.
Supervisor: Lockyer, S. ; Chow, B. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Origins of language ; Origins of music ; Origins of art ; Origins of humour