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General intelligence does not help us understand cognitive evolution

  • David M. Shuker (a1), Louise Barrett (a2), Thomas E. Dickins (a3), Thom C. Scott-Phillips (a4) and Robert A. Barton (a4)...

Abstract

Burkart et al. conflate the domain-specificity of cognitive processes with the statistical pattern of variance in behavioural measures that partly reflect those processes. General intelligence is a statistical abstraction, not a cognitive trait, and we argue that the former does not warrant inferences about the nature or evolution of the latter.

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Heldstab, S. A., Kosonen, Z. K., Koski, S. E., Burkart, J. M., van Schaik, C. P. & Isler, K. (2016) Manipulation complexity in primates coevolved with brain size and terrestriality. Scientific Reports 6:24528. doi: 10.1038/srep24528.
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