Network Neuroscience and the Adapted Mind: Rethinking the Role of Network Theories in Evolutionary Psychology

Nassim Elimari, Gilles Lafargue
2020 Frontiers in Psychology  
Evolutionary psychology is the comprehensive study of cognition and behavior in the light of evolutionary theory, a unifying paradigm integrating a huge diversity of findings across different levels of analysis. Since natural selection shaped the brain into a functionally organized system of interconnected neural structures rather than an aggregate of separate neural organs, the network-based account of anatomo-functional architecture is bound to yield the best mechanistic explanation for how
more » ... e brain mediates the onset of evolved cognition and adaptive behaviors. While this view of a flexible and highly distributed organization of the brain is more than a century old, it was largely ignored up until recently. Technological advances are only now allowing this approach to find its rightful place in the scientific landscape. Historically, early network theories mostly relied on lesion studies and investigations on white matter circuitry, subject areas that still provide great empirical findings to this day. Thanks to new neuroimaging techniques, the traditional localizationist framework, in which any given cognitive process is thought to be carried out by its dedicated brain structure, is slowly being abandoned in favor of a network-based approach. We argue that there is a special place for network neuroscience in the upcoming quest for the biological basis of information-processing systems identified by evolutionary psychologists. By reviewing history of network theories, and by addressing several theoretical and methodological implications of this view for evolutionary psychologists, we describe the current state of knowledge about human neuroanatomy for those who wish to be mindful of both evolutionary and network neuroscience paradigms.
doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.545632 pmid:33101120 pmcid:PMC7545950 fatcat:7idrahc7znhh7h425yqas6cusi