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Evolution, Exchange and Coordination: Implications for Organizational Communication
Unformatted Document Text:  Evolution, Exchange and Coordination 4 unequivocal. These external forces (i.e., society and culture) shape the mind (and behavior), and not the other way around. The mind must obviously be malleable enough to accommodate said influences. Sixth, forces this significant in shaping human complexity are clearly in need of investigation. Such is the mandate of the traditional social science and humanities disciplines. 5 Proponents of the emerging and competing Integrated Causal Model (ICM) also believe in the “psychic unity of humankind” (Tooby & Cosmides, 1992. p. 25). However, for these scholars, the SSSM’s view of the brain is incommensurate with the hugely complex activities that the human brain is required to perform. Two conundrums evoked by Tooby and Cosmides (1992) illustrate these difficulties (for additional challenges see also Pinker, 1997, 2002). First, proponents of the SSSM are hard-pressed to explain how an assembly of general-purpose malleable mechanisms in the human brain can generate the countless almost instantaneous estimations that are required for seamless complex human behavior. This problem of ‘combinatorial explosion’ can only be resolved through the operation of specialized modular programming that runs largely outside of human awareness. Dedicated programs that come equipped with built-in knowledge or information about a human being’s natural environment overcome this difficulty, by curtailing energy expended on information-processing tasks. Second, they point out that SSSM scholars are ill at ease to explain away the ‘frame problem’ that the general-purpose view necessarily creates. A singular, general-purpose interpretive ‘frame,’ constructed from social influence processes, cannot explicate how humans’ understanding of and learning from social and cultural variability can occur. Cultural variability is only intelligible to the lay ethnographer if, to begin with, he or she comes equipped with ‘ways of understanding and learning,’ which comprise a universal built-in content-rich mental architecture shared with other subjects (Tooby and Cosmides, 1992). Thus, the new ICM for understanding human behavior that Tooby and Cosmides (1992) propose departs from the SSSM in two fundamental ways: first, it takes as a starting point that our brains are hardwired for domain-specific content. Neuroscientists’ fruitful efforts to map out the architecture of the brain are lending considerable support to the ICM’s view of “the mind as a set of [domain-specific] information-processing machines that were designed by natural selection to solve adaptive problems faced by our hunter-gatherer ancestors” (Cosmides & Tooby, 1997, Introduction, par. 2); for reviews of the functional location of such information-processing machines, see Damasio, l999; Ehin, 1998, Gazzaniga, 1998; Pinker, 1997, 2002). Second, it recognizes that these knowledge-rich algorithms are panhuman, or universal. As such, specializations in the brain are really no different from all other physiological adaptations (Wilson, 1975; Pierce & White, 1999). They can only be explained in terms of the evolutionary pressures of natural selection. Given that the Environment of Evolutionary Adaptation (EEA) is unlikely to have varied significantly for hominid groups, it is likely that these functionally specialized mechanisms evolved “to produce behavior that solves particular adaptive problems, such as mate selection, language acquisition,

Authors: Teboul, JC. Bruno. and Cole, Tim.
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Evolution, Exchange and Coordination
4
unequivocal. These external forces (i.e., society and culture) shape the mind (and behavior), and not the
other way around. The mind must obviously be malleable enough to accommodate said influences. Sixth,
forces this significant in shaping human complexity are clearly in need of investigation. Such is the
mandate of the traditional social science and humanities disciplines.
5
Proponents of the emerging and competing Integrated Causal Model (ICM) also believe in the
“psychic unity of humankind” (Tooby & Cosmides, 1992. p. 25). However, for these scholars, the
SSSM’s view of the brain is incommensurate with the hugely complex activities that the human brain is
required to perform. Two conundrums evoked by Tooby and Cosmides (1992) illustrate these difficulties
(for additional challenges see also Pinker, 1997, 2002). First, proponents of the SSSM are hard-pressed to
explain how an assembly of general-purpose malleable mechanisms in the human brain can generate the
countless almost instantaneous estimations that are required for seamless complex human behavior. This
problem of ‘combinatorial explosion’ can only be resolved through the operation of specialized modular
programming that runs largely outside of human awareness. Dedicated programs that come equipped with
built-in knowledge or information about a human being’s natural environment overcome this difficulty,
by curtailing energy expended on information-processing tasks. Second, they point out that SSSM
scholars are ill at ease to explain away the ‘frame problem’ that the general-purpose view necessarily
creates. A singular, general-purpose interpretive ‘frame,’ constructed from social influence processes,
cannot explicate how humans’ understanding of and learning from social and cultural variability can
occur. Cultural variability is only intelligible to the lay ethnographer if, to begin with, he or she comes
equipped with ‘ways of understanding and learning,’ which comprise a universal built-in content-rich
mental architecture shared with other subjects (Tooby and Cosmides, 1992). Thus, the new ICM for
understanding human behavior that Tooby and Cosmides (1992) propose departs from the SSSM in two
fundamental ways: first, it takes as a starting point that our brains are hardwired for domain-specific
content. Neuroscientists’ fruitful efforts to map out the architecture of the brain are lending considerable
support to the ICM’s view of “the mind as a set of [domain-specific] information-processing machines
that were designed by natural selection to solve adaptive problems faced by our hunter-gatherer
ancestors” (Cosmides & Tooby, 1997, Introduction, par. 2); for reviews of the functional location of such
information-processing machines, see Damasio, l999; Ehin, 1998, Gazzaniga, 1998; Pinker, 1997, 2002).
Second, it recognizes that these knowledge-rich algorithms are panhuman, or universal. As such,
specializations in the brain are really no different from all other physiological adaptations (Wilson, 1975;
Pierce & White, 1999). They can only be explained in terms of the evolutionary pressures of natural
selection. Given that the Environment of Evolutionary Adaptation (EEA) is unlikely to have varied
significantly for hominid groups, it is likely that these functionally specialized mechanisms evolved “to
produce behavior that solves particular adaptive problems, such as mate selection, language acquisition,


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