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The role of play objects and object play in human cognitive evolution and innovation
Aarhus University, Denmark.
Aarhus University, Denmark.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences. University of Johannesburg, South Africa;Stellenbosch University, South Africa. (Arkeologi)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8747-4131
University of Victoria, Canada.
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2018 (English)In: Evolutionary anthropology (Print), ISSN 1060-1538, E-ISSN 1520-6505, Vol. 27, no 1, p. 46-59Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this contribution, we address a major puzzle in the evolution of human material culture: If matur-ing individuals just learn their parental generation’s material culture, then what is the origin of keyinnovations as documented in the archeological record? We approach this question by coupling alife-history model of the costs and benefits of experimentation with a niche-construction perspec-tive. Niche-construction theory suggests that the behavior of organisms and their modification ofthe world around them have important evolutionary ramifications by altering developmentalsettings and selection pressures. Part ofHomo sapiens’niche is the active provisioning of childrenwith play objects—sometimes functional miniatures of adult tools—and the encouragement ofobject play, such as playful knapping with stones. Our model suggests that salient material cultureinnovation may occur or be primed in a late childhood or adolescence sweet spot when cognitiveand physical abilities are sufficiently mature but before the full onset of the concerns and costsassociated with reproduction. We evaluate the model against a series of archeological cases andmake suggestions for future research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2018. Vol. 27, no 1, p. 46-59
Keywords [en]
play objects, object play, niche construction, innovation, creativity
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Humanities, Archaeology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-70975DOI: 10.1002/evan.21555ISI: 000425146500008PubMedID: 29446561OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-70975DiVA, id: diva2:1183530
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 721-2014-2100Available from: 2018-02-18 Created: 2018-02-18 Last updated: 2018-03-02Bibliographically approved

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Högberg, Anders

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Citation style
  • apa
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  • vancouver
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More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • text
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