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What were they thinking? Using electroencephalogram (EEG) to map brain activations during stone tool manufacture.

Author(s): Colleen Bell

Year: 2015

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While psychologists have been using many different methods to map brain activity during various tasks, archaeologists have yet to fully utilize the potential of these techniques to examine early human cognition. Paleolithic stone tools provide a promising line of evidence in human behavioral and cognitive evolution. Recently, brain imaging modalities such as Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) have been used to more directly link cognition and stone tools. This paper will review these previous studies and propose a new protocol. In contrast to earlier research, which have used hemodynamic brain activity mapping techniques (fMRI, PET, and fTCD); the research proposed here will be conducted through electromagnetic imaging with electroencephalogram (EEG) to examine the parallels of cognitive development with lithic industry advancements. Through the use of the EEG, a modality with better temporal control, we might isolate where in the lithic reduction process previously noted cognitive differences occur as well as provide a naturalistic knapping environment during the brain imaging.

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What were they thinking? Using electroencephalogram (EEG) to map brain activations during stone tool manufacture.. Colleen Bell. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398205)


Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America