New study on cognitive archaeology and tactile responses to the lithic industry

The Paleoneurobiology group of the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH), led by Emiliano Bruner, has just published, in collaboration with the Museo de la Evolución Humana (MEH) in Burgos and the company Sociograph from Valladolid, a new paper on cognitive archaeology in which the hand-tool relationship is studied, analyzing the geometry of the tools, the grasp of the hand, and the electrical responses of the skin (electrodermography).

The paper introduces the relationships between prehistory and neurosciences, and those between working memory and visuospatial integration. In particular, it centers on how tools influence our cognitive mechanisms, by altering the perception of the body and of space.

Prehistoric tools are crucial to interpreting the cognitive skills of extinct human species. Studying their shape is conducted using geometric and spatial models, and this is integrated with studies of their patterns of handling.

Using electrodes, electrodermal methods record variations in the levels of attention during the interaction between hand and tools, revealing differences between individuals or between different kinds of tools. These methods are usually used in neuromarketing to quantify the emotional responses to commercial stimuli.

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