A suite of abilities that I’ll call the Five Cs

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A note for Lesson no. 7, "Our Brains Can Create Reality," in Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context from page 112 is:

Scientists don’t know for sure how our brains developed this capacity, but we suspect it has something to do with a suite of abilities that I’ll call the Five Cs...

The appendix adds:

Four of these Cs—creativity, communication, copying, and cooperation—are inspired by research from evolutionary biologist Kevin Laland,

A book by the evolutionary biologist Kevin Laland summarizes much of the research on four of the C's — creativity, communication (i.e., language), copying (i.e., social learning, or acquiring knowledge or skills by observing or interacting with other animals), and cooperation — as well as cultural evolution.[1] Cultural evolution is the hypothesis that the elements of culture, such as beliefs and knowledge, norms and customs, skills and tools/technology, and so on, change over time, and these changes can be explained as an evolutional process. That is, they transmit information across generations and have an impact on who survives long enough to bear children, how many children they have and the survivability of those children.

Also see this book by the psychologist Michael Tomasello, which covers similar topics from a more developmental angle.[2]

See also


  1. Laland, Kevin N. 2017. Darwin’s Unfinished Symphony: How Culture Made the Human Mind. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  2. Tomasello, Michael. 2019. Becoming Human: A Theory of Ontogeny. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.