The Frontal Feedback Model of the Evolution of the Human Mind: Part 1, The “Pre”-human Brain and the Perception–Action Cycle

Document Type: 
Article
Article Type: 
Theoretical
Disciplines: 
Neuroscience
Topics: 
Theory of Consciousness
Keywords: 
neocortex, evolution, frontal lobe
Deposited by: 
Raymond A. Noack
Date of Issue: 
2006
Authors: 
Raymond A. Noack
Volume: 
27
Issue Number: 
3 and 4
Page Range: 
215-242
Official URL: 
http://www.umaine.edu/jmb/
Abstract: 
The frontal feedback model argues that the sudden appearance of art and advancing technologies around 40,000 years ago in the hominid archaeological record was the end result of recent fundamental change in the functional properties of the hominid brain, occurring late in its evolution. This change was marked by the switching of the driving mechanism behind the global, dynamic function of the brain from an “object-centered” bias, reflective of nonhuman primate and early hominid brains, to a “self-centered” bias, reflective of modern Homo sapiens and perhaps late Homo erectus brains. Such a transition in the global–functional properties of the brain was provided for by the progressive enlargement of the primate frontal lobe throughout its evolution. In late-developing hominids, this progressive enlargement effectively succeeded in reversing the preferred direction of information flow in the highest association areas of the neocortex from a caudo–rostral bias to a rostro–caudal bias. It was this reversal specifically that provided for the ability of humans to use symbolic thought in the creative expression of art, language, and the development of advancing technologies. Part 1 traces the hypothesized evolution of the primate brain from its early vertebrate beginnings through to the common ancestor of modern great apes and humans in order to set the stage for the proposed reversal, which is the subject of Part 2.
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