Human Exaptation Project
Exaptation was first proposed by Elizabeth Vrba and her colleague Stephon Jay Gould based on Charles Darwin’s research on genetic characters resulted from evolutionary adaptability. Their work indicated that the origin of a genetic character does not always reflect the contemporary functions. Evolutionary adaptability might lead to acquiring new functions and may probably help the species to achieve a different goal during evolution process. Exaptation represents a function shift of either an organ or behavior which differs from the initial and original reason of its existence. Bird feathers are an example, what do you think the function of feathers is?
The initial functions are maintaining balance and regulating temperature but later were adapted for flight in some birds as an exaptation which might carry higher values and efficiency than balance maintenance and temperature regulation in my point of view. Exaptation is one of the most controversial terms and it is difficult or sometimes next to impossible to determine whether a particular function is due to evolutionary adaptability or exaptation especially in more complex systems of life like human beings but crucially affects interpreting, predicting and mind engineering of a subject.
Accordingly, and considering my major and personal interest in exploring research, I have undertaken a project under the title of “HEP” standing for Human Exaptation Project and Exaptation Theory of Mind is the first attempt of HEP to take first steps of defining exaptation in realm of Cognitive Science. To begin, I selected Theory of Mind which is a matter of great importance in designing smart systems, changing/alerting attitudes in education, and defining the concept of human. I do believe that social function of Theory of Mind has undergone exaptation and its function adaptability lasts in our genetic coding system which is a more beneficial function than the social one.
HEP project will reveal potentials of interpreting, predicting and mind engineering particularly for human subjects by hopefully being globally sponsored..
The first chapter is a brief review of available data called “Present Reality” and the outcomes of the research are concisely presented. The second chapter named “Pretend” explores the causes and other functions and finally the third chapter called “Desired Reality” studies its effects on different fields of mind and brain.
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“One of the most widespread superstitions is that every man has his own special, definite qualities; that a man is kind, cruel, wise, stupid, energetic, apathetic, etc.
Men are not like that . . . Men are like rivers; the water is the same in each, and alike in all; but every river is narrow here, is more rapid there, here slower, there broader, now clear, now cold, now dull, now warm. It is the same with men. Every man carries in himself the germs of every human quality and sometimes one manifests itself, sometimes another, and the man often becomes unlike himself—while still remaining the same man.”
― Leo Tolstoy