ATLANTA–August 31, 2016– The Center for Behavioral Neuroscience (CBN) at Georgia State University has received a three-year, $970,704 grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate how the human brain has evolved to support technological learning.
Dr. Erin Hecht from CBN, Dr. Ann Kruger from the College of Education & Human Development at Georgia State and Drs. David Gutman, Dietrich Stout, Todd Preuss, Katherine Bryant and Lee Cooper from Emory University are collaborating on the project.
The research will employ a multidisciplinary approach, integrating expertise in neuroscience, informatics, anthropology and educational psychology to shed light on the evolutionary origins and contemporary processes underlying human technological learning. The researchers will map the range of individual differences in human brain connectivity and identify unique aspects of the human brain via comparison with humans’ closest living relatives, chimpanzees. They will also measure how individual human brains change during the acquisition of modern and ancient technological skills and track how social and psychological variables affect technological learning.
“We are excited by the potential of this innovative research to both expand our understanding of human brain evolution and to have a substantial real-world impact by mapping the factors that cause people to acquire technological skills differently,” says Hecht, CBN research scientist. “Our studies will clarify the multi-level interactions among neural, behavioral and cultural mechanisms of human technological learning.”
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