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From Hand to HandleThe First Industrial Revolution$
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Lawrence Barham

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199604715

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199604715.001.0001

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Tools for Learning

Tools for Learning

(p.75) 3 Tools for Learning
From Hand to Handle

Lawrence Barham

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the human capacity for learning complex tasks, with particular emphasis on making hafted tools. To reconstruct the evolution of the ability to learn to make hafted tools, the chapter considers the social context in which the inventors of hafting lived. More specifically, it looks at contemporary hunter-gatherer societies in order to elucidate when and why societies founded on cooperation and food sharing evolved. It also describes the role of technology in the network of food sharing, alloparenting, and cooperation, along with the social foundations of human learning within the context of ‘social learning theory’, the distinctive pattern of human growth and cognitive development, and the basic features of hunter-gatherer social life. Furthermore, the chapter discusses the connection between the evolution of the brain and the need for group cooperation before concluding with an analysis of the fossil and archaeological evidence indicating a Middle Pleistocene origin of the social foundations of hafting.

Keywords:   learning, complex tasks, hafted tools, evolution, hafting, hunter-gatherer societies, social learning theory, cognitive development, group cooperation, archaeological evidence

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