Educating the Evolved Mind: Conceptual Foundations for an Evolutionary Educational Psychology

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Jerry S. Carlson, Joel R. Levin
Information Age Pub., 2007 - Education - 203 pages
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In this volume, David Geary provides a comprehensive theory that brings children's education into the 21st century, and provides directions for the development of a new discipline, evolutionary educational psychology. Geary presents the case that a scientifically grounded approach to children's schooling and, to a lesser degree, their later occupational interests can be informed by recent advances in the application of evolutionary theory to the understanding of the human brain, mind, and its development. He develops a taxonomy of evolved cognitive abilities and describes how, from an evolutionary perspective, these abilities are modified and refined during childhood. From there, he lays the framework for understanding the relation between evolved abilities, such as language, and the non-evolved competencies that are built from them with schooling, such as reading. Geary describes the mechanisms, such as working memory, that enable humans to transform evolved cognitive abilities into culturally important, school taught competencies. These are integrated with discussion of human intellectual history and cultural evolution, and the sources of children's motivation to learn inside and outside of the classroom. In all, this may well be the most revolutionary theory of children's schooling since Rousseau.

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