On the origins of mind: a comparative perspective

Kresimir Durdevic, Josep Call*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the most fundamental questions in cognitive science pertains to how the mind emerges and develops, that is, what is the origin of mind? In this article we use comparative data to contribute to three important questions about the origin of human and nonhuman minds: (a) which human psychological traits are ancestral and which ones are derived (i.e., which traits can we assume to be unique to humans), (b) whether language has a role in developing psychological abilities, and (c) what the cognitive architecture of animal minds looks like. Based on our selective review, we conclude that (a) deductive reasoning, rather than relational or belief reasoning, is so far the best candidate for a human-unique derived cognitive ability, (b) language and symbolic representation are not necessary for the emergence of conceptual and abstract thinking, and (c) support for a modular cognitive architecture in animals is mixed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-87
Number of pages25
JournalAnnual Review of Developmental Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2022


  • Comparative cognition
  • Human uniqueness
  • Language
  • Modularity of mind


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