Humans have a form of externalised memory. They are able to transmit information across generations in the form of learned cultural traditions and preserve this knowledge in artefacts. How this capability evolved from the simpler traditions of other animals is an active area of research. There is also a growing appreciation among psychologists of the ways in which culture can directly affect the ways memories are formed and recalled. Once memories have been formed, there are also clear influences of cultural background in the way autobiographical memories are recalled. While other animals have their own forms of cultural memory, none of them have it like we do. It is both a consequence of, and a causal influence on, the memories we hold in our brains. Understanding how we came to have it, and the consequences of the co-evolutionary processes it has sparked, will be a focus of interdisciplinary research for decades to come.
Director at Learning Change Project – Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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