PERSPECTIVES IN COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE
Cover: Human Language and Our Reptilian Brain: The Subcortical Bases of Speech, Syntax, and Thought, from Harvard University PressCover: Human Language and Our Reptilian Brain in PAPERBACK

Human Language and Our Reptilian Brain

The Subcortical Bases of Speech, Syntax, and Thought

Add to Cart

Product Details

PAPERBACK

$43.50 • £34.95 • €39.00

ISBN 9780674007932

Publication Date: 05/31/2002

Short

240 pages

6 halftones, 9 line illustrations

Perspectives in Cognitive Neuroscience

World

This book is an entry into the fierce current debate among psycholinguists, 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 psycholinguists and neurolinguists to argue that human language—though more sophisticated than all other forms of animal communication—is not a qualitatively 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 neuroimaging, 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 of many separate abilities. Language remains as it began, Lieberman 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.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: A Brief History of Equality, by Thomas Piketty, from Harvard University Press

Five Reasons Why You Should Read Thomas Piketty’s A Brief History of Equality

In his surprising and powerful new work, A Brief History of Equality, Thomas Piketty reminds us that the grand sweep of history gives us reasons to be optimistic. Over the centuries, he shows, we have been moving toward greater equality. We asked him about his impassioned new book: why he wrote it, how it’s optimistic, and what we need to do to continue making progress on creating an equitable world.