Cognitive Archaeology and the Cognitive Sciences

  • Frederick L. Coolidge
  • Thomas Wynn
  • Karenleigh A. Overmann
  • James M. Hicks
Part of the Springer Series in Bio-/Neuroinformatics book series (SSBN, volume 3)


Cognitive archaeology uses cognitive and psychological models to interpret the archaeological record. This chapter outlines several components that may be essential in building effective cognitive archaeological arguments. It also presents a two-stage perspective for the development of modern cognition, primarily based upon the work of Coolidge and Wynn. The first describes the transition from arboreal to terrestrial life in later Homo and the possible cognitive repercussions of terrestrial sleep. The second stage proposes that a genetic event may have enhanced working memory in Homo sapiens (specifically in terms of Baddeley’s multicomponent working memory model). The present chapter also reviews the archaeological and neurological bases for modern thinking, and the latter arguments are primarily grounded in the significance of the morphometric rescaling of the parietal lobes, which appears to have distinguished Homo sapiens from Neandertals.


Cognitive archaeology Working memory Enhanced working memory Parietal lobes Intraparietal sulcus IPS Precuneus Homo sapiens Neandertals 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frederick L. Coolidge
    • 1
  • Thomas Wynn
    • 2
  • Karenleigh A. Overmann
    • 1
  • James M. Hicks
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of ColoradoColorado SpringsUSA
  2. 2.Anthropology DepartmentUniversity of ColoradoColorado SpringsUSA

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