Halverson, John
Paleolithic art and cognition
Journal of Psychology 126. 3 (May, 1992): 221 (16 pages)

Author Abstract
In this article, I have explored some of the possible relationships between the first appearance of representational art in human history and the early development of human cognition. I argue that most Upper Paleolithic depictions directly represent generalized mental images of their animal subjects rather than percepts or recollected scenes from life and that these images, in turn, are representations of concepts at the basic level of categorization. A common feature of Paleolithic art forms is the salience of parts, and the treatment of parts indicates analytic and synthetic (recombinative) abilities. There are some indications of superordinate categorization. An expansion of conceptual thinking seems to be implied as well as the beginnings of operational thought. The presence and practice of depiction may have had the effect of bringing concepts into consciousness and thus inducing reflection in at least a partially abstract mode.

© Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation 1992.






Maintained by Francis F. Steen, Communication Studies, University of California Los Angeles