Human Nature 30 (3):326-340 (2019)

Cumulative technological culture can be defined as the progressive diversification, complexification, and enhancement of technological traits through generations. An outstanding issue is to specify the cognitive bases of this phenomenon. Based on the literature, we identified four potential cognitive factors: namely, theory-of-mind, technical-reasoning, creativity, and fluid-cognitive skills. The goal of the present study was to test which of these factors—or a combination thereof—best predicted the cumulative performance in two experimental, micro-society conditions differing in the nature of the interaction allowed between participants. The task was to build the highest possible tower. Participants were also assessed on the four aforementioned cognitive factors in order to predict cumulative performance and attractiveness. Our findings indicate that technical-reasoning skills are the best predictor of cumulative performance, even if their role may be restricted to the specific technological domain. Theory-of-mind skills may have a facilitator role, particularly in the Communication condition. Creativity can also help in the generation of novel ideas, but it is not sufficient to support innovation. Finally, fluid cognition is not involved in cumulative technological culture. Taken together, these findings suggest that domain-specific knowledge remains critical for explaining cumulative technological culture.
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DOI 10.1007/s12110-019-09349-1
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Cultural Learning.Michael Tomasello, Ann Cale Kruger & Hilary Horn Ratner - 1993 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16 (3):495-511.
The Cognitive Bases of Human Tool Use.Krist Vaesen - 2012 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 35 (4):203-262.

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