Brain evolution and human neuropsychology: the inferential brain hypothesis

J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2012 May;18(3):394-401. doi: 10.1017/S1355617712000264. Epub 2012 Mar 30.

Abstract

Collaboration between human neuropsychology and comparative neuroscience has generated invaluable contributions to our understanding of human brain evolution and function. Further cross-talk between these disciplines has the potential to continue to revolutionize these fields. Modern neuroimaging methods could be applied in a comparative context, yielding exciting new data with the potential of providing insight into brain evolution. Conversely, incorporating an evolutionary base into the theoretical perspectives from which we approach human neuropsychology could lead to novel hypotheses and testable predictions. In the spirit of these objectives, we present here a new theoretical proposal, the Inferential Brain Hypothesis, whereby the human brain is thought to be characterized by a shift from perceptual processing to inferential computation, particularly within the social realm. This shift is believed to be a driving force for the evolution of the large human cortex. (JINS, 2012, 18, 394-401).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mental Processes / physiology*
  • Neuropsychology*