Int. Conference on Human Ethology
Tutzing, W-Germany, 27 - 31 July 1986
Pacemakers of Human Cognition?
Abstract of originally intended lecture
earlier paper "On Concepts of
"Cognition" in Biology", 2nd workshop of
the ESSCS, Cambridge 1984, tried to show that only hominids
develop an additional cognitive quality,"Eigen-quality".
By visual feedback of hand movements (an effect of permanent
bipedality), a neurocybernetic loop is closed.
In the present paper some further implications are hypothetically
drawn on psychological processes during hominization, finally
leading to self-recognition: hands, being environmental objects
and parts of the subject at the same time, serve as "pacemakers".
The rest of the body, tools, artifacts, everything handled is
endowed with Eigenquality and helps constructing a self-related
environment. Watching conspecifics and behavior of the own shadow
may lead to the experience of a "whole-self", recognized
(truly reflective!) in a mirror.
Evidence in support of the hypotheses is presented from facts
in developmental psychology.
B. Text of Poster presented:
1. Vertebrate forelimbs acquired a complex sensorimotor apparatus
changing their role in locomotion during
a) as fish fins: stabilizing, steering
b) as tetrapode legs: pulling, pushing,
c) as primate arms: hanging, reaching
2. Arboreal living conditions brought additional sensorimotor
a) Visual control of arm and hand movements
b) stereoscopic vision enabled reaching
3. Permanent bipedality liberated hands and their sensorimotor
from locomotor functions - manipulation becomes
? "Eigen"quality of self-monitored,
4. Humanization in this neurocybernetic view: a process of construction
of an "Eigen-world", beginning
in the domain of prehension
(tools as "Eigen-objects") and
extending into the
a) social domain: conspecifics behave
Eigen-like by empathy
b) ego-domain: Eigen-arms, Eigen-legs,
Eigen-face in a mirror ...