Human Language and Our Reptilian Brain: The Subcortical Bases of Speech, Syntax and Thought (Perspectives in Cognitive Neuroscience)
By: Philip Lieberman (author)Paperback
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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 a quantum evolutionary leap to explain it, and is not unified in a single "language instinct". Using clinical evidence from speech-impaired patients, functional neuro-imaging, and evolutionary biology to make his case, Philip Lieberman contends that human language is not a single separate module but a functional neurological system made up off many separate abilities. Language remains as it began, the author argues: a device for coping with the world. But in a blow to human narcissism, he makes the case that this most remarkable human ability is a by-product of our remote reptilian ancestors' abilities to dodge hazards, seize opportunities, and live to see another day.
Philip Lieberman is Fred M. Seed Professor of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences and Professor of Anthropology at Brown University.
Introduction 1. Functional Neural System 2. Speech Production and Perception 3. The Lexicon and Working Memory 4. The Subcortical Basal Ganglia 5. The Evolution of the Functional Language System 6. Commentary Notes Reference Index
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- ID: 9780674007932
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