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Autism, the Integrations of 'Difference' and the Origins of Modern Human Behaviour

Spikins, Penny (2009) Autism, the Integrations of 'Difference' and the Origins of Modern Human Behaviour. Cambridge Archaeological Journal. pp. 179-201. ISSN 0959-7743

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Abstract

It is proposed here that the archaeological evidence for the emergence of 'modern behaviour' (160,000-40,000 bp) can best be explained as the rise of cognitive variation within populations through social mechanisms for integrating 'different minds', rather than by the development of a single 'modern human mind'. Autism and the autistic spectrum within human populations are used as an example of 'different minds' which when integrated within society can confer various selective benefits. It is proposed that social mechanisms for incorporating autistic difference are visible in the archaeological record and that these develop sporadically from 160,000 years bp in association with evidence for their consequences in terms of technological innovations, improved efficiency in technological and natural spheres and innovative thinking. Whilst other explanations for the emergence Of modern human behaviour may also contribute to observed changes, it is argued that the incorporation of cognitive differences played a significant role in the technological, social and symbolic expression of 'modern' behaviour.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: Copyright © The McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research 2009. This is an author produced version of a paper published in Cambridge Archaeological Journal. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Keywords: MIDDLE STONE-AGE, SOUTH-AFRICA, ASPERGER-SYNDROME, BLOMBOS CAVE, SEX-DIFFERENCES, SHELL BEADS, PALEOLITHIC BURIALS, ATTACHMENT SECURITY, FUNCTIONING AUTISM, VISUAL-SEARCH, Archaeology, Archaeology, Cultural Studies
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Archaeology (York)
Depositing User: Repository Officer
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2009 17:41
Last Modified: 09 Jul 2014 11:04
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0959774309000262
Status: Published
Refereed: Yes
Related URLs:
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/8638

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