Merlin Donald
The neurobiology of human consciousness: An evolutionary approach
Special Issue: The biology and neuropsychology of consciousness
Neuropsychologia 33. 9 (Sep 1995): 1087-1102


Human brains are basically primate in design, but in addition have representational mechanisms that give human consciousness a special character. The evolution in hominids of new kinds of verbal and nonverbal representational skill produced the capacity for skilled rehearsal and explicit memory retrieval, and allowed the invention of conventional, or public representations, including languages and external symbols. The latter have created demands at the cultural level that greatly influence the deployment of cerebral resources. The spiralling interaction of brain and culture in evolution has resulted in a unique quasi-modular architecture at the highest levels of human cerebral integration.


Maintained by Francis F. Steen, Communication Studies, University of California Los Angeles