People transforming information – information transforming people: What the Neanderthals can teach us



This paper examines the issue of people transforming information and in turn information transforming people, starting from a human adaptation event occurring 35,000-50,000 years ago, called Enhanced Working Memory (EWM). This hypothesized adaptation separated human cognitive and social development from the Neanderthals' allowing humans to adapt and survive through drastically changing social and physical environments while the Neanderthals did not. EWM and the advantages to humans it provided are examined in terms of giving humans improved and more flexible decoding and encoding cognitive and social architectures. As a result of these architectures, what constitutes information for humans has also evolved. A Socio-cognitive Framework Model for Transformational Information Use illustrates how adaptive decoding and encoding structures work together to facilitate human adaptation to social and environmental changes.