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The role of material culture in human time representation: calendrical systems as extensions of mental time travel

(2011) ADAPTIVE BEHAVIOR. 19(1). p.63-76
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Abstract
Humans have cognitive mechanisms that allow them to keep track of time, represent past events and simulate the future, but these capacities have intrinsic constraints. Here, we explore the role of material culture as an extension of internal time representations through anthropological and archeological case studies, focusing on Upper Paleolithic material culture. We argue that calendars complement and extend internal time representations, because they enable humans to project past events into the future more accurately than is possible with episodic memory alone, making them one of the factors that significantly improved foraging success during the Upper Paleolithic. We discuss the implications of the epistemic use of material culture for our understanding of the causes of shifts in human behavior during the Upper Paleolithic.
Keywords
mental time travel, cognitive archeology, episodic thinking, calendars, epistemic artifacts

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Chicago
De Smedt, Johan, and Helen De Cruz. 2011. “The Role of Material Culture in Human Time Representation: Calendrical Systems as Extensions of Mental Time Travel.” Adaptive Behavior 19 (1): 63–76.
APA
De Smedt, Johan, & De Cruz, H. (2011). The role of material culture in human time representation: calendrical systems as extensions of mental time travel. ADAPTIVE BEHAVIOR, 19(1), 63–76.
Vancouver
1.
De Smedt J, De Cruz H. The role of material culture in human time representation: calendrical systems as extensions of mental time travel. ADAPTIVE BEHAVIOR. 2011;19(1):63–76.
MLA
De Smedt, Johan, and Helen De Cruz. “The Role of Material Culture in Human Time Representation: Calendrical Systems as Extensions of Mental Time Travel.” ADAPTIVE BEHAVIOR 19.1 (2011): 63–76. Print.
@article{1181813,
  abstract     = {Humans have cognitive mechanisms that allow them to keep track of time, represent past events and simulate the future, but these capacities have intrinsic constraints. Here, we explore the role of material culture as an extension of internal time representations through anthropological and archeological case studies, focusing on Upper Paleolithic material culture. We argue that calendars complement and extend internal time representations, because they enable humans to project past events into the future more accurately than is possible with episodic memory alone, making them one of the factors that significantly improved foraging success during the Upper Paleolithic. We discuss the implications of the epistemic use of material culture for our understanding of the causes of shifts in human behavior during the Upper Paleolithic.},
  author       = {De Smedt, Johan and De Cruz, Helen},
  issn         = {1059-7123},
  journal      = {ADAPTIVE BEHAVIOR},
  keywords     = {mental time travel,cognitive archeology,episodic thinking,calendars,epistemic artifacts},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {63--76},
  title        = {The role of material culture in human time representation: calendrical systems as extensions of mental time travel},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1059712310396382},
  volume       = {19},
  year         = {2011},
}

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