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Institute/Center: CSIC - Instituto de Ciencias del Patrimonio (Incipit), CSIC-UMH - Instituto de Neurociencia (IN)

Author: Felipe Criado-Boado, Manuel J. Blanco, Diego Alonso & Luis M. Martínez

By testing through eye-tracking how visual cognition is affected by different sorts of archaeological pottery styles belonging to different chronologies and social conditions, this research provides evidence that cognition is not only in our mind, but underpinned in some way by the world around us. This idea has been suggested by numerous philosophers and cognitive scientists, but in a sense that is still waiting to be experimentally tested. Our work provides evidence of a correlation between the evolution over time of the social structure of a community and the way in which people interact with and cognitively interpret the world around. Specifically, the visual behaviour that people produce when freely exploring a chronological series of ceramics, shows the same evolutionary trend as the social complexity behind these archaeological stages. The eye-tracking tests a change in the visual structure of the cultural objects that echoes the changes in the social domains.

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Visual cognition and material culture. The cognitive footprint of the archaeological material culture styles