NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ885302
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Aug
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0285
Adaptive Memory: Ancestral Priorities and the Mnemonic Value of Survival Processing
Nairne, James S.; Pandeirada, Josefa N. S.
Cognitive Psychology, v61 n1 p1-22 Aug 2010
Evolutionary psychologists often propose that humans carry around "stone-age" brains, along with a toolkit of cognitive adaptations designed originally to solve hunter-gatherer problems. This perspective predicts that optimal cognitive performance might sometimes be induced by ancestrally-based problems, those present in ancestral environments, rather than by adaptive problems faced more commonly in modern environments. This prediction was examined in four experiments using the survival processing paradigm, in which retention is tested after participants process information in terms of its relevance to fitness-based scenarios. In each of the experiments, participants remembered information better after processing its relevance in an ancestral environment (the grasslands), compared to a modern urban environment (a city), despite the fact that all scenarios described similar fitness-relevant problems. These data suggest that our memory systems may be tuned to ancestral priorities. (Contains 4 tables and 6 figures.)
Elsevier. 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, FL 32887-4800. Tel: 877-839-7126; Tel: 407-345-4020; Fax: 407-363-1354; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A