Stone tools, predictive processing and the evolution of language

Mind and Language (forthcoming)
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Recent work by Stout and colleagues indicates that the neural correlates of language and Early Stone Age toolmaking overlap significantly. The aim of this paper is to add computational detail to their findings. I use an error minimisation model to outline where the information processing overlap between toolmaking and language lies. I argue that the Early Stone Age signals the emergence of complex structured representations. I then highlight a feature of my account: It allows us to understand the early evolution of syntax in terms of an increase in the number and complexity of models in a cognitive system, rather than the development of new types of processing.

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Ross Pain
Australian National University


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