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Steven Mithen, an archaeologist with an interest in psychology, believes that just such a consciousness obtained among early humans when they went foraging for food or made tools. The evolution of higher, more memory-laden consciousness, he continues, occurred only as a result of a cognitive trick that doubtless involved some trial and error. The trick, simply put, was to guess what the social behavior of some member of one's social group might be in a given circumstance--to step outside one's own mind, in other words, and enter another's. This guesswork underlies the famed cave paintings of Altamira, an attempt to predict the behavior of migratory animals. It underlies as well another experiment: the development of agriculture, with the requisite predicting of how plants and animals might behave under a wide range of conditions.
Mithen's reconstruction of the ancestral human mind, laid out in a clear and accessible narrative, is a fine intellectual adventure. --Gregory McNamee
This review may seem a little harsh but it's what I thought of the book. The subject matter is fascinating so I was disappointed to find that the book was as much about Steven... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Laurence White
No time to write an appropriate review yet, but parts fit well with my current research and writing.Published 7 months ago by marilyn Ekdahl Ravicz, Ph.D.
More than 3/4's into the book and I have yet to learn anything about how we developed religion, or abstract thought for that matter. Nor cognitive thought. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Frank A Mastromauro
Very disappointing and very uninspiring . Instead of discussing the ideas and theories in a common sense manner with foot notes covering other peoples books and theory and perhaps... Read morePublished on March 12, 2012 by G Whiteman
Steven Mithen was featured in a PBS film, "The Music Instinct". He spoke of evolutionary development of voice and song for early communication. Read morePublished on October 8, 2011 by Greality Test
A good book on the architecture of the mind and what is or is not genetic/evolutionarily programmed, is Steve Mithen's "The Prehistory of the Mind. Read morePublished on November 18, 2009 by Laura Knight-Jadczyk
"The prehistory of the mind" by Steven Mithen is a book dealing with some of the mysteries of human prehistory. Read morePublished on February 1, 2009 by Ashtar Command