Recent cognitive theories like those on extended mind, embodiment, or brain-artefact interface, stress the relevance of the outer environment in transforming a “brain” into a “mind”. The brain needs information stored beyond its anatomical 1500 cubic centimetres to complete the network that generates cognition. Objects may be necessary to store additional and supplementary data, or even to induce processes. This may sound like metaphysics, but think for example about photographs. Without recorded images most of our memories quickly fade away, or are deeply distorted. And our mind is strongly rooted in memories. Many memories do exist just because there are photos able to regenerate those emotions, situations, and relationships. Sometimes we don’t have the memory of the situation at all, but just the memory of the photo of that situation. Images are a strict example of an external cognitive device. No doubt, language has been the result of an incredible evolutionary change. Nonetheless, I wonder if we are giving too much importance to speech. If our mind is really “extended”, drawing and writing could have been the real cognitive revolution, definitely setting the pace of our cognitive boost.
A challenge for archaeology and cultural neuroscience (Lambros Malafouris)
An Embodied Interaction Book Review (Seth Fox)