Gallaudet University Webcast
 

Educational Neuroscience (PEN) Distinguished Lecture Series - Rauschecker

Dr. Josef Rauschecker

Merrill Learning Center B-111

October 5, 2017
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

WHERE DID LANGUAGE COME FROM? EVOLUTIONARY PRECURSOR MECHANISMS IN THE BRAIN OF NONHUMAN PRIMATES

With all its uniqueness in humans, language and music must have its evolutionary origins in nonhuman animals. Dr. Rauschecker contends that it makes sense to search for traces of brain mechanisms supporting communication in our closest relatives, nonhuman primates. Monkeys have a well-developed system of communication calls and an auditory cortex that is organized very much like ours. Ventral and dorsal processing streams support similar functions in both the visual and the auditory systems of humans and monkeys. Where then is the difference that makes us human? It appears possible that nonhuman primates possess most of the necessary ingredients for successful communication, but have them to a lesser degree, so they do not reach the critical mass for a full-blown language system. Dr. Rauschecker states that studies using identical techniques in both species may help to bring us closer to an answer.

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