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Contextual focus: A cognitive explanation for the cultural transition of the Middle/Upper Paleolithic

Gabora, Dr. Liane (2003) Contextual focus: A cognitive explanation for the cultural transition of the Middle/Upper Paleolithic. [Conference Paper]

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Abstract

Many elements of culture made their first appearance in the Upper Paleolithic. Previous hypotheses put forth to explain this unprecedented burst of creativity are found wanting. Examination of the psychological basis of creativity leads to the suggestion that it resulted from the onset of contextual focus: the capacity to focus or defocus attention in response to the situation, thereby shifting between analytic and associative modes of thought. New ideas germinate in a defocused state in which one is receptive to the possible relevance of many dimensions of a situation. They are refined in a focused state, conducive to filtering out irrelevant dimensions and condensing relevant ones.

Item Type:Conference Paper
Keywords:crativity, culture, context, cognitive transision, Upper Paleolithic, focus, defocus, analytic thought, associative thought
Subjects:Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
Psychology > Evolutionary Psychology
ID Code:3417
Deposited By:Gabora, Dr. Liane
Deposited On:09 Feb 2004
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:55

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