, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 415-421
Date: 22 Nov 2011

Louise Barrett, beyond the brain: how body and environment shape animal and human minds

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Beyond the brain: how body and environment shape animal and human minds is an eye-opening and thought-provoking book that sets out a much-needed contribution to the study of the relationship between animals, cognition, and the environment. The volume provides remarkable new insights into how to understand animal (including human) behavior, raises interesting questions about the role of environmental affordances in the emergence of complex cognitive processes and provides the reader with a refreshing break from the wearisome excess of brain-centric literature that still pervades much of the debate surrounding evolutionary psychology. In embracing the theoretical framework endorsed by proponents of embodied cognition, Barrett adopts an ecological approach to psychology that aims at challenging any attempt to describe complex thinking and flexible behavior as mere by-products of internal cognitive activity. Ecological approaches in psychology typically provide a powerful and coherent alte ...