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Executive Functions of the Frontal Lobes and the Evolutionary Ascendancy of Homo Sapiens

  • Frederick L. Coolidge (a1) and Thomas Wynn (a2)

Abstract

A core question of cognitive archaeology is the evolution of modern thinking. In this article, it is argued that a cluster of specific cognitive abilities, ‘executive functions’, was one of the key evolutionary acquisitions that led to the development of modern thinking. A review of the history of executive functions is presented as well as current opinions as to their nature and genetic basis. Examples are also presented from the cognitive archaeological record that may be representative of executive functions in the evolution of modern thought.

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