The Cognitive Science of Technology

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Stout, Dietrich
Year of Publication: 2021
Journal: Trends in Cognitive Science
Date Published: 2021/08/04/
Publication Language: eng
ISBN Number: 1364-6613
Keywords: Cultural Evolution, Human evolution, skill, Social learning, tool use

Technology is central to human life but hard to define and study. This review synthesizes advances in fields from anthropology to evolutionary biology and neuroscience to propose an interdisciplinary cognitive science of technology. The foundation of this effort is an evolutionarily motivated definition of technology that highlights three key features: material production, social collaboration, and cultural reproduction. This broad scope respects the complexity of the subject but poses a challenge for theoretical unification. Addressing this challenge requires a comparative approach to reduce the diversity of real-world technological cognition to a smaller number of recurring processes and relationships. To this end, a synthetic perceptual-motor hypothesis (PMH) for the evolutionary–developmental–cultural construction of technological cognition is advanced as an initial target for investigation.

Short Title: Trends in Cognitive Sciences