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Neural insights into the relation between language and communication

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Willems, R. M., & Varley, R. (2010). Neural insights into the relation between language and communication. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 4, 203. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2010.00203.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0012-1BE1-3
Abstract
The human capacity to communicate has been hypothesized to be causally dependent upon language. Intuitively this seems plausible since most communication relies on language. Moreover, intention recognition abilities (as a necessary prerequisite for communication) and language development seem to co-develop. Here we review evidence from neuroimaging as well as from neuropsychology to evaluate the relationship between communicative and linguistic abilities. Our review indicates that communicative abilities are best considered as neurally distinct from language abilities. This conclusion is based upon evidence showing that humans rely on different cortical systems when designing a communicative message for someone else as compared to when performing core linguistic tasks, as well as upon observations of individuals with severe language loss after extensive lesions to the language system, who are still able to perform tasks involving intention understanding