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The Evolution of Self-Awareness: Advances in Neurological Understandings Since Julian Jaynes' 'Bicameral Mind'

Robert K. Kretz
Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences & Engineering, 2000, Vol. 60 (12-B), pp. 6413.

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While the most important survival enhancing change in the evolution of the human species is generally accepted to be the tremendous growth of the cerebral cortex, there are few models explaining the evolution of its cognitive processes. Julian Jaynes (1976) synthesized data from neurology, anthropology and ancient texts to address the question of when humans developed the cognitive process of self-awareness. Jaynes defined self-awareness as a specialized function of the language centers of the left hemisphere and posited that self-awareness emerged only after a more primitive form of behavioral control, dominated by right hemisphere language function, proved inadequate in responding to increasingly complex environmental and social demands.