Advanced

The archaeology of teaching and the evolution of homo docens

Gärdenfors, Peter LU and Högberg, Anders LU (2017) In Current Anthropology 58(2). p.188-208
Abstract

Teaching is present in all human societies, while within other species it is very limited. Something happened during the evolution of Homo sapiens that also made us Homo docens-the teaching animal. Based on discussions of animal and hominin learning, we analyze the evolution of intentional teaching by a series of levels that require increasing capacities of mind reading and communication on the part of the teacher and the learner. The levels of teaching are (1) intentional evaluative feedback, (2) drawing attention, (3) demonstrating, (4) communicating concepts, and (5) explaining relations between concepts. We suggest that level after level has been added during the evolution of teaching. We demonstrate how different technologies... (More)

Teaching is present in all human societies, while within other species it is very limited. Something happened during the evolution of Homo sapiens that also made us Homo docens-the teaching animal. Based on discussions of animal and hominin learning, we analyze the evolution of intentional teaching by a series of levels that require increasing capacities of mind reading and communication on the part of the teacher and the learner. The levels of teaching are (1) intentional evaluative feedback, (2) drawing attention, (3) demonstrating, (4) communicating concepts, and (5) explaining relations between concepts. We suggest that level after level has been added during the evolution of teaching. We demonstrate how different technologies depend on increasing sophistication in the levels of cognition and communication required for teaching them. As regards the archaeological evidence for the different levels, we argue that stable transmission of the Oldowan technology requires at least teaching by demonstration and that learning the late Acheulean hand-axe technology requires at least communicating concepts. We conclude that H. docens preceded H. sapiens.

(Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Current Anthropology
volume
58
issue
2
pages
21 pages
publisher
University of Chicago Press
external identifiers
  • scopus:85016802750
  • wos:000400614600003
ISSN
0011-3204
DOI
10.1086/691178
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
3992c84a-2187-404c-bb99-70f33e956a1e
date added to LUP
2017-05-02 09:57:01
date last changed
2017-09-18 13:33:38
@article{3992c84a-2187-404c-bb99-70f33e956a1e,
  abstract     = {<p>Teaching is present in all human societies, while within other species it is very limited. Something happened during the evolution of Homo sapiens that also made us Homo docens-the teaching animal. Based on discussions of animal and hominin learning, we analyze the evolution of intentional teaching by a series of levels that require increasing capacities of mind reading and communication on the part of the teacher and the learner. The levels of teaching are (1) intentional evaluative feedback, (2) drawing attention, (3) demonstrating, (4) communicating concepts, and (5) explaining relations between concepts. We suggest that level after level has been added during the evolution of teaching. We demonstrate how different technologies depend on increasing sophistication in the levels of cognition and communication required for teaching them. As regards the archaeological evidence for the different levels, we argue that stable transmission of the Oldowan technology requires at least teaching by demonstration and that learning the late Acheulean hand-axe technology requires at least communicating concepts. We conclude that H. docens preceded H. sapiens.</p>},
  author       = {Gärdenfors, Peter and Högberg, Anders},
  issn         = {0011-3204},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {04},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {188--208},
  publisher    = {University of Chicago Press},
  series       = {Current Anthropology},
  title        = {The archaeology of teaching and the evolution of homo docens},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/691178},
  volume       = {58},
  year         = {2017},
}