Workpackage 8: Neuroimaging of human tool use

Brain basis of action comprehension and socially mediated skill acquisition in humans

Dr Dietrich Stout, Institute of Archaeology, University College London mail home page
Dr Jan Apel, Institute of Archaeology, University College London mail

Start 01/ 10/2006 End 31/03/2009

Project 8


To study the behavioral organization, cognitive structure and neural foundations of stone knapping and its social reproduction through demonstration, observation and deliberate practice.


To develop an operational and cognitive analysis of skill development and conceptual understanding in Lower Paleolithic toolmaking.

To use this analysis to help map the brain basis of human action comprehension and observational learning with respect to Lower Paleolithic toolmaking skills.

To apply the insights and methods developed in the first two stages to the analysis of knapping skill and it cognitive implications in a Middle Pleistocene archaeological assemblage.

Related publications

Stout, D. and Chaminade, T. (2007) The evolutionary neuroscience of tool making. Neuropsychologia . 45(5):1091-1100.

Dietrich Stout (under review) Making tools and making sense: complex, intentional behaviour in human evolution. Cambridge Archaeological Journal.