We often have the honor of getting to ask large questions about the human condition. Sometimes those questions invite us to venture far beyond our studio in Durham, NC, to talk with researchers who are doing innovative research. A refreshing example of that happened when we interviewed Cecilia Heyes of the University of Oxford regarding her Harvard University Press book, Cognitive Gadgets: The Cultural Evolution of Thinking.
How do human beings gain the ability to think? For many years, scientists have looked at the role of genetic evolution. In many ways, though, that process also may depend on our interaction with other people. In other words, at least some of how we think may be shaped by cultural evolution. Thinking about thinking can be a challenging task, and fortunately Cecilia offered insights about her work in an accessible way that helps us all understand how we develop the tools we use to make sense of the world.