David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (2):199-208 (2003)
The strong predominance of right-handedness appears to be a uniquely human characteristic, whereas the left-cerebral dominance for vocalization occurs in many species, including frogs, birds, and mammals. Right-handedness may have arisen because of an association between manual gestures and vocalization in the evolution of language. I argue that language evolved from manual gestures, gradually incorporating vocal elements. The transition may be traced through changes in the function of Broca's area. Its homologue in monkeys has nothing to do with vocal control, but contains the so-called “mirror neurons,” the code for both the production of manual reaching movements and the perception of the same movements performed by others. This system is bilateral in monkeys, but predominantly left-hemispheric in humans, and in humans is involved with vocalization as well as manual actions. There is evidence that Broca's area is enlarged on the left side in Homo habilis, suggesting that a link between gesture and vocalization may go back at least two million years, although other evidence suggests that speech may not have become fully autonomous until Homo sapiens appeared some 170,000 years ago, or perhaps even later. The removal of manual gesture as a necessary component of language may explain the rapid advance of technology, allowing late migrations of Homo sapiens from Africa to replace all other hominids in other parts of the world, including the Neanderthals in Europe and Homo erectus in Asia. Nevertheless, the long association of vocalization with manual gesture left us a legacy of right-handedness. Key Words: cerebral dominance; gestures; handedness; hominids; language evolution; primates; speech; vocalization.
|Keywords||cerebral dominance gestures handedness hominids language evolution primates speech vocalization|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Nicolas Fay, Michael Arbib & Simon Garrod (2013). How to Bootstrap a Human Communication System. Cognitive Science 37 (7):1356-1367.
Robin Melrose (2006). Walking and Talking: Traces of the Body in the Grammar and Lexis of Spontaneous Spoken English. Semiotica 2006 (162):341-369.
Similar books and articles
Alan A. Beaton (2003). Going for Broca? I Wouldn't Bet on It! Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (2):212-213.
Uwe Jürgens (2003). From Mouth to Mouth and Hand to Hand: On Language Evolution. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (2):229-230.
William D. Hopkins & Claudio Cantalupo (2003). Brodmann's Area 44, Gestural Communication, and the Emergence of Right Handedness in Chimpanzees. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (2):224-225.
Ralph L. Holloway (2003). Was a Manual Gesturing Stage Really Necessary? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (2):223-224.
Anna M. Barrett, Anne L. Foundas & Kenneth M. Heilman (2005). Speech and Gesture Are Mediated by Independent Systems. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (2):125-126.
Michael A. Arbib (2005). From Monkey-Like Action Recognition to Human Language: An Evolutionary Framework for Neurolinguistics. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (2):105-124.
Gregory V. Jones & Maryanne Martin (2003). Dual Asymmetries in Handedness. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (2):227-228.
Amir Raz & Opher Donchin (2003). A Zetetic's Perspective on Gesture, Speech, and the Evolution of Right-Handedness. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (2):237-238.
Michael C. Corballis (2003). Hand-to-Hand Combat, or Mouth-to-Mouth Resuscitation? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (2):242-250.
Michael A. Arbib (2003). Protosign and Protospeech: An Expanding Spiral. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (2):209-210.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads65 ( #22,156 of 1,098,996 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #114,795 of 1,098,996 )
How can I increase my downloads?