We try to uncover evolutionary precursors of human higher cognitive functions grounded in the physical morphologies and patterns of structured bodily actions based on behavioral and neurophysiological analyzes on chronic macaque monkeys, which have been trained to use tools and other high-tech apparatus. By examining the mechanisms shared among al individuals, we extrapolate to the mechanisms at the bases of communicatory functions. Through this process we can eventually understand the neural mechanisms that foster the intellectual and altruistic society characteristic of the humanistic civilization environment. Furthermore, through the development of Marmoset experimental models, we aim to elucidate the neurobiological mechanisms of evolutionary and developmental processes that give rise to the symbolic cognitive functions subserving inference, empathy, imagination, metaphysical thoughts, etc. that characterize human intelligence.
Among the experiments we have conducted toward discovering the evolutionary precursors of human cognitive functions are:
1. Dynamic modulation of body-image during self objectification by view point conversion.
2. Interactions among multiple agents as bases of social behaviors.
3. Rodent model of higher cognitive functions to reveal mechanisms of curiosity.
4. Combined NIRS and multi-unit recordings to link human and monkey brain functions.
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