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Our blender brain: How mixing ideas made us human

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   Četvrtak, 27 Veljača 2014 00:00

Blending is a basic mental operation, and many species may be capable of creating rudimentary blends. Imagine, for instance, a dog that has learned the game of fetch from its master, who exploited the dog's instinct to retrieve. The dog's notion of playing fetch includes its master, but not me. Yet if I walk up to the dog with a ball, it might be able to blend its idea of playing fetch with its idea of me, so that, in the blend, there is something new. I'm now the one who throws the ball for the dog.
That is a simple blend, combining compatible notions. But human beings seem to have taken an additional step up the blending ladder. At some point, perhaps in the Upper Palaeolithic era, which began around 50,000 years ago, we developed the ability to blend ideas that are in strong conflict, or incompatible. This advanced blending capacity is the source of our creativity.


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