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How the Brain Got Language: The Mirror System Hypothesis (Studies in the Evolution of Language) Hardcover – April 11, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0199896684 ISBN-10: 0199896682 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in the Evolution of Language (Book 16)
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (April 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199896682
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199896684
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.1 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,581,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"...I recommend Arbib's book to serious students of language evolution.... How the Brain Got Language should be a valuable resource for scholars of language evolution." --PsycCRITIQUES


"Arbib's book copiously illustrates the interdisciplinarity of research on language evolution, drawing on data from neuroscience, etholohy, linguistics, human palaeontology and prehistoric archaeology." - Kerstin Hoge, Times Literary Supplement


"Arbib's book is well written and engaging. Even if one does not agree with Arbib on how the human brain got language, the book may interest the intended audience [of] educated lay readers, as well as researchers in linguistics, cognitive neuroscience, neurolinguistics, natural language processing, primatology, and anthropology." -Fredrik Heinat, Nordic Journal of Linguistics


"Together with introducing is own theory of language evolution, Arbib also rightfully evaluates some contemporary views on language origin. These views differ from Arbib's theory in terms of their different foci on linguistic components, distinct modularity and forms about the proto language, and various scenarios of language origin." -Lan Shuai & Tao Gong, SciVerse ScienceDirect


About the Author


Michael Arbib was a pioneer in the interdisciplinary study of computers and brains, and has long studied brain mechanisms underlying the visual control of action. For more than a decade he has devoted much energy to understanding the relevance of this work, and especially of mirror neurons, to the evolution of the language-ready brain.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gregory A. Turner on June 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I am not specialist or even well-read in this specific topic or area of neuroscience / mirror neuron systems. Graduate school linguistics in the mid 70's so that's about as dated as you can get. At any rate, intrigued by the discovery of mirror neuron. Arbib definitely has the creds and his book comes across as broad and comprehensive grasp of array of related disciplines. Complicated and for me a hard read. I found the speculation part tiring at times - the science is there, yes, but it all goes to - what has to be - speculation about evolution for which there is no data per se. I would put the book down and then a few days later, think to pick it up again and invariably would be re-captivated until the speculation slog wore me back down. Cycle repeats. It's worth persisting since interesting information continues through the final chapters.

His hypothesis is that mirror neuron system provides the seed for communicative "duality" - the sender makes assumption that receiver will decode to the same semantic content / the receiver assumes that his/her decode is what was intended by the sender. He creates a path from macaque monkey MNS studies through great apes (chimps, gorillas) vocal, facial and hand gestures, onto human communication - analyzing imitation and pantomime and seeing gesture as linchpin for the development of human language: in this regard, he employs data from sign language studies.

Probably impossible to gather in all relevant references but one example of glaring omission is 2006 UCLA study

First Evidence Found of Mirror Neuron’s Role in Language
Sep 21, 2006

a summary of which can be found with search on phys.org. I couldn't recall any mention of this and my search via his names index and subject index did not hit. A mysterious omssion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paris traveler on August 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Important book. Hickok's The Myth of Mirror Neurons can be usefully consulted for an alternate perspective, and for putting the brakes on the hype. The mirror systems remain an important discovery despite being abused as a theoretical panacea.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Very well written book. I am currently a Senior in High School and despite what other reviews said this book was not too technical for me to read it. I found myself looking up definitions for words that I have not seen before, but that is expected. It not only gives a great view on linguistics in the Brain, but it also gave me a completely different view on Human Behavior in general. Reading this book taught me a lot about psychology and neurology, as well as neurolinguistics.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Still not read completely, but I am very impressed with this book's insights, especially involving the highly complex nature of mirror neurons. An excellent source of knowledge for persons who want to understand themselves and fellow human beings, i.e., our evolved human nature as persons.
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How the Brain Got Language: The Mirror System Hypothesis (Studies in the Evolution of Language)
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