The Evolutionary Origins of Cognitive Control

Topics in Cognitive Science 3 (2):231-237 (2011)
The question of domain-specific versus domain-general processing is an ongoing source of inquiry surrounding cognitive control. Using a comparative evolutionary approach, Stout (2010) proposed two components of cognitive control: coordinating hierarchical action plans and social cognition. This article reports additional molecular and experimental evidence supporting a domain-general attentional process coordinating hierarchical action plans, with the earliest such control processing originating in the capacity of dynamic foraging behaviors—predating the vertebrate-invertebrate divergence (c. 700 million years ago). Further discussion addresses evidence required for additional, domain-specific, cognitive control processes, noting that proposed social processes may simply provide emotionally valenced representational information to the above hierarchical process
Keywords Foraging  Social evolution  Executive control  Comparative biology  Evolutionary psychology  Dopamine
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DOI 10.1111/j.1756-8765.2011.01135.x
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Dietrich Stout (2010). The Evolution of Cognitive Control. Topics in Cognitive Science 2 (4):614-630.
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Matthew Ratcliffe (2005). An Epistemological Problem for Evolutionary Psychology. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 19 (1):47-63.

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