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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Cognition in Context


The theory behind the evolution of cognition frames that cognitive processes have evolved in response to the complexity and challenges posed by the physical and social environment. To date, cognitive abilities have been mostly studied under controlled laboratory conditions that facilitate replicability and high-resolution measurements (Cauchoix, Hermer, Chaine, & Morand-Ferron, 2017). Yet, under these circumstances, cognitive abilities are evaluated in relatively stable and homogeneous situations that hardly match the species’ natural environments (Niemelä and Dingemanse, 2014). Thus, results drawn from these controlled studies do not necessarily scale to the range of cognitive processes displayed by individuals in naturalistic settings (Cauchoix, Chaine, & Barragan-Jason, 2020).

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