Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

Mental attention, not language, may explain evolutionary growth of human intelligence and brain size

Juan Pascual-Leone a1
a1 Psychology Department, York University, Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3, Canada.

Article author query
pascual-leone j   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Using neoPiagetian theory of mental attention (or working memory), I task-analyze two complex performances of great apes and one symbolic performance (funeral burials) of early Homo sapiens. Relating results to brain size growth data, I derive estimates of mental attention for great apes, Homo erectus, Neanderthals, and modern Homo sapiens, and use children's cognitive development as reference. This heuristic model seems consistent with research.