The Evolution of Language: A Gesture-First Approach and its Relevance to Cognitive Science at CWRU

Event Date:
January 1st 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Presented by Todd Oakley

Todd Oakley

Abstract: Evolution of language is one of the most hotly contested topics in cognitive science. In this talk, I will summarize some of the points of consensus and controversies, and then argue that gesture-first explanations are more plausible than vocalization-initiated explanations. Under this view, cooperative scavenging is the likely behavioral platform for human language evolution that likewise fits with current knowledge of language development. A gesture-first approach to language evolution offers a coherent platform from which to discuss the general research and curricular orientation of the Cognitive Science Department at CWRU.