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The Making of Human Concepts$
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Denis Mareschal, Paul C. Quinn, and Stephen E.G. Lea

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199549221

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199549221.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 14 November 2019

Cognitive development in chimpanzees: A trade-off between memory and abstraction?

Cognitive development in chimpanzees: A trade-off between memory and abstraction?

Chapter:
(p.227) Chapter 11 Cognitive development in chimpanzees: A trade-off between memory and abstraction?
Source:
The Making of Human Concepts
Author(s):

Tetsuro Matsuzawa

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199549221.003.11

This chapter suggests that the strong, near-photographic memory of chimps for number may be one manifestation of a more general characteristic of a representational system that provides extraordinarily detailed records of visual scenes. Such a system may be viewed as adaptive in a cognitive niche in which rapid, categorical decisions need to be made about objects encountered (e.g. ripe vs. unripe food, friend vs. foe). By contrast, the human cognitive niche emphasizes linguistic descriptions of events that capture an abstract gist which can be communicated to others. In this sense, chimps may be likened to humans with autism who display weak central coherence (i.e. an eye for detail, but without the corresponding big-picture idea).

Keywords:   chimpanzees, cognitive development, memory, abstraction, cognition

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