Skip to main content Accessibility help

Coexistence of general intelligence and specialized modules

  • Federica Amici (a1) (a2) (a3), Josep Call (a4) (a5) and Filippo Aureli (a6) (a7)


Here, we specifically discuss why and to what extent we agree with Burkart et al. about the coexistence of general intelligence and modular cognitive adaptations, and why we believe that the distinction between primary and secondary modules they propose is indeed essential.



Hide All
Amici, F., Barney, B., Johnson, V. E., Call, J. & Aureli, F. (2012) A modular mind? A test using individual data from seven primate species. PLoS One 7(12):e51918.
Barton, R. A. & Harvey, P. H. (2000) Mosaic evolution of brain structure in mammals. Nature 405:1055–58.
Cosmides, L. & Tooby, J. (2002) Unraveling the enigma of human intelligence: Evolutionary psychology and the multimodular mind. In: The evolution of intelligence, ed. Sternberg, R. J. & Kaufman, J. C., pp. 145–98. Erlbaum.
de Waal, F. B. M. & Johanowicz, D. L. (1993) Modification of reconciliation behavior through social experience: An experiment with two macaque species. Child Development 64:897908.
de Winter, W. & Oxnard, C. E. (2001) Evolutionary radiations and convergences in the structural organization of mammalian brains. Nature 409:710–14.
Gardner, H. (1993) Multiple intelligences. Basic Books.
Herrmann, E. & Call, J. (2012) Are there geniuses among the apes? Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 367:2753–61.
Herrmann, E., Call, J., Hernández-Lloreda, M. V., Hare, B. & Tomasello, M. (2007) Humans have evolved specialized skills of social cognition: The cultural intelligence hypothesis. Science 317:1360–66.
Herrmann, E., Hernandez-Lloreda, M. V., Call, J., Hare, B. & Tomasello, M. (2010b) The structure of individual differences in the cognitive abilities of children and chimpanzees. Psychological Science 21(1):102–10.
Jensen, A. R. (1993) Why is reaction time correlated with psychometric g? Current Directions in Psychological Science 2:5356.
Kaufman, A. S. (1979) Intelligent testing with the WISC-R. Wiley.
Kaufman, A. S. (2009) IQ testing 101. Springer.
Kolata, S., Light, K. & Matzel, L. D. (2008) Domain-specific and domain-general learning factors are expressed in genetically heterogeneous CD-1 mice. Intelligence 36(6):619–29.
Lee, J. (2007) A g beyond Homo sapiens? Some hints and suggestions. Intelligence 35:253–65.
Lefebvre, L., Reader, S. M. & Sol, D. (2013) Innovating innovation rate and its relationship with brains, ecology and general intelligence. Brain, Behavior and Evolution 81:143–45.
Pennington, B. F., Filipek, P. A., Lefly, D., Chhabildas, N., Kennedy, D. N., Simon, J. H., Filley, C. M., Galaburda, A. & DeFries, J. C. (2000) A twin MRI study of size variations in the human brain. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 12:223–32.
Schmitt, V., Pankau, B. & Fischer, J. (2012) Old world monkeys compare to apes in the primate cognition test battery. PLoS One 7(4):e32024.
Shettleworth, S. J. (2010b) Cognition, evolution, and behavior. Oxford University Press.
Sol, D. (2009a) Revisiting the cognitive buffer hypothesis for the evolution of large brains. Biology Letters 5:130–33.
Spearman, C. (1927) The abilities of man. Macmillan.
Sternberg, R. J. (1988) The triarchic mind: A new theory of human intelligence. Viking.
van Schaik, C. P. & Burkart, J. M. (2011) Social learning and evolution: The cultural intelligence hypothesis. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 366(1567):1008–16.
van Schaik, C. P., Isler, K. & Burkart, J. M. (2012) Explaining brain size variation: From social to cultural brain. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 16:277–84.


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed