New book

Dr. Trey Berry, president of Southern Arkansas University, left, congratulates Dr. Edward Kardas on the publication of the “Handbook of Cognitive Archeology: Psychology in Prehistory.”

Dr. Edward Kardas, distinguished professor of psychology and Honors College director at Southern Arkansas University, is a co-editor on the recently-published “Handbook of Cognitive Archeology: Psychology in Prehistory.”

It has been published by Taylor-Francis.

Kardas edited the book along with Tracy Henley and Matt Rossano. The book examines the prehistory of physiological and developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, social psychology, and personality and clinical psychology. “Archeologists now infer the behavior of long dead humans from ancient bones and artifacts,” Kardas said.

“Psychologists have become more interested in the behavior, cognitions, social factors, and personalities of ancient humans.”

He said the seed for the book was planted after he and his co-editors finished presenting papers at the Southwestern Psychological Association’s 2017 meeting. “The discussion blossomed into a 545-page book with 39 authors contributing 29 chapters.”

The two forwards examine the scope of the volume from the viewpoints of cognitive archeology and psychology, respectively. The disciplines have “converging interests” in understanding the human past, Kardas said.

A chapter in the book by Derek Hodgson, an archeologist, examines why the basic design on the stone hand axe remained unchanged for 500,000 years. Another chapter, by Edward Hagen and Shannon Tushingham, looks at the long history of human use of psychoactive substances.

Other chapters cover morality, technical cognition, the evolution of language, and the archeology of madness. “The range of topics is extraordinary,” Kardas said.

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