The Brain

The big picture:

Duchaine, B., Cosmides, L., & Tooby, J. (2001). Evolutionary psychology and the brain. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 11(2), 225-230. PDF

This paper reviews evidence relevant to content-independent yet functionally specialized adaptive specializations in the brain, as well as specializations that are content-dependent (this is the category most often ignored in cognitive neuroscience).

Tooby, J. & Cosmides, L. (2000). Toward mapping the evolved functional organization of mind and brain. In M. S. Gazzaniga (Ed.), The New Cognitive Neurosciences, Second Edition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (Chapter 80, pp. 1167-1178.)

Cosmides, L. & Tooby, J. (1995). From function to structure: The role of evolutionary biology and computational theories in cognitive neuroscience. In M. Gazzaniga (Ed.), The cognitive neurosciences. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Research on specific topics:

Social exchange:

Stone, V., Cosmides, L., Tooby, J., Kroll, N. & Knight, R. (2002). Selective Impairment of Reasoning About Social Exchange in a Patient with Bilateral Limbic System Damage. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 99(17), 11531-11536. PDF

Theory of mind:

German, T.P., Niehaus, J.L., Roarty, M.P., Giesbrecht, B., & Miller, M.B. (in press 2004). Neural correlates of detecting pretense: Automatic engagement of the intentional stance under covert conditions. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.

Category-specific memory systems:

For neuropsychological evidence for a system specialized for the acquisition, storage and retrieval of information about personality traits (especially one's own), see:

Klein, S., Rozendahl, K., & Cosmides, L. (2002). A social-cognitive neuroscience analysis of the Self. Social Cognition, 20, 104-132. PDF

[Reports the case of DB, a patient with brain damage who has intact knowledge of his own personality traits, yet impaired knowledge of those of this daughter, impaired knowledge of other domains of knowledge, and impaired episodic retrieval. Suggests a dissociation within the semantic memory system]

Klein, S., Cosmides, L., Costabile, K., & Mei, L. (2002). Is there something special about the self? A neuropsychological case study. Journal of Research in Personality, 36, 490-506. PDF

[Reports case of RJ, an individual with autism, who has acquired accurate knowledge of his own personality traits, yet has not acquired culturally consensual knowledge about other domains of semantic knowledge (animals, foods, tools). Suggests a system specialized not just for storing information about the self, but for acquiring it.]

Klein, S., Cosmides, L. & Costabile, K. (2003). Preserved knowledge of self in a case of Alzheimer’s dementia. Social Cognition, 21(2), 157-165. PDF

[Reports case of KR, an individual with severe semantic impairments due to Alzheimer's dementia. She has accurate knowledge of her personality traits prior to onset (and those of her daughter), but not of her current personality, which has changed. Suggests specialized storage system for personality traits, but that ability to update this store can be impaired.]

Klein, S., Cosmides, L., Murray, E. & Tooby, J. (in press) On the acquisition of knowledge about personality traits: Does learning about the self engage different mechanisms than learning about others? Social Cognition.

Klein, S., German, T., Cosmides, L. & Gabriel, R. (in press). A theory of autobiographical memory: Necessary components and disorders resulting from their loss. Social Cognition.