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Title: The role of humour in the evolution of hominid cognition and the emergence of language
Other Titles: Humour in the evolution of hominid cognition
Authors: Newmarch Molineux, Christopher Nicholas David
Advisors: Lockyer, S
Chow, B
Keywords: Origins of language;Origins of music;Origins of art;Origins of humour
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: This thesis employs a primarily inductive approach to determine the path of emergence and subsequent evolution of humour in hominins based on biological roots. This includes an outline of the cognitive, psychological, and social/behavioural impact ramifications, with emphasis on factors associated with cognitive evolution and the emergence of language and the aesthetic faculty. It is shown that the emergence of humour would have preceded language and prelinguistic humour would have functioned as a “break in pattern” recognition system. This system served the informatic function of detecting and parsing constituent elements of holistic perceptions, and creating abstracted conceptions, which could then be cross-correlated across multiple schemata and manifested in domain-general1 expressions. Humorous behaviour would have ritualized such expressions, which then became part of shared bodies of knowledge imbued with social capital. Futhermore, due to associated rewards, this system was autotelic and autocatalytic, and thus stimulated the hierarchical evolution of hominin cognition (including the capacity for analogical thought and symbolic communication), behaviour, communication, sociality and culture, before being largely supplanted in its importance by the aesthetic faculty and language, which are shown to be products of this process. As such, humour can be seen to have played an important role in the hominin transition from biological to bio-social evolutionary dynamics.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University London
Appears in Collections:Sociology
Dept of Social and Political Sciences Theses

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