Human Language and Our Reptilian Brain: The Subcortical Bases of Speech, Syntax, and Thought

@article{Lieberman2001HumanLA,
  title={Human Language and Our Reptilian Brain: The Subcortical Bases of Speech, Syntax, and Thought},
  author={Philip Lieberman},
  journal={Perspectives in Biology and Medicine},
  year={2001},
  volume={44},
  pages={32 - 51}
}
  • P. Lieberman
  • Published 1 February 2001
  • Psychology, Biology
  • Perspectives in Biology and Medicine
This work is an entry into the fierce current debate among psycho-linguists, neuroscientists, and evolutionary theorists about the nature and origins of human language. A prominent neuroscientist here takes up the Darwinian case, using data seldom considered by psycho-linguists and neuro-linguists to argue that human language - though more sophisticated than all other forms of animal communication - is not a qualitative different ability from all forms of animal communication, does not require… 

The evolution of language and thought.

  • P. Lieberman
  • Biology, Psychology
    Journal of anthropological sciences = Rivista di antropologia : JASS
  • 2016
Although the knowledge of the neural circuits of the human brain is at a very early stage and incomplete, the findings of independent studies over the past 40 years have identified circuits linking the basal ganglia with various areas of prefrontal cortex, posterior cortical regions and other subcortical structures that play a critical role in conferring cognitive flexibility.

Language as shaped by the brain.

This work concludes that a biologically determined UG is not evolutionarily viable, and suggests that apparently arbitrary aspects of linguistic structure may result from general learning and processing biases deriving from the structure of thought processes, perceptuo-motor factors, cognitive limitations, and pragmatics.

The Evolution of Speech and Language

Mutations on the FOXP2 transcriptional gene shared by humans, Neanderthals, and at least one other archaic species enhanced synaptic plasticity in cortical–basal ganglia circuits that are implicated in motor behavior, cognitive flexibility, language, and associative learning.

Language in our brain : The origins of a uniquely human capacity

vatore Gilij (1721–1789) in Ch. 17, Matthias Pache, Arjan Mossel, and Willem F. H. Adelaar remark on the very modern notions he proposed while documenting Indigenous languages of the Orinoco region.

Brain mechanisms of acoustic communication in humans and nonhuman primates: An evolutionary perspective

The proposed model assumes age-dependent interactions between the basal ganglia and their cortical targets, similar to vocal learning in some songbirds, and provides a solution to the question for the adaptive value of the “first word”.

On the nature and evolution of the neural bases of human language.

  • P. Lieberman
  • Biology, Psychology
    American journal of physical anthropology
  • 2002
Data from studies of Broca's aphasia, Parkinson's disease, hypoxia, focal brain damage, and a genetically transmitted brain anomaly, and from comparative studies of the brains and behavior of other species demonstrate that the basal ganglia sequence the discrete elements that constitute a complete motor act, syntactic process, or thought process.

The Evolution of Language: A Comparative Review

It is concluded that comparative data from living animals will be key to developing a richer, more interdisciplinary understanding of the authors' most distinctively human trait: language.

Formulaic Language in an Emergentist Framework

The human brain is a veritable hodgepodge of ad hoc assemblages of the old, the borrowed, and the new, gerrymandered in response to millennia of internal and external forces. It follows that human
...

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