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Brain and behavior: Which way does the shaping go?

  • A. Charles Catania (a1)

Evolutionary contingencies select organisms based on what they can do; brains and other evolved structures serve their behavior. Arguments that brains drive language structure get the direction wrong; with functional issues unacknowledged, interactions between central structures and periphery are overlooked. Evidence supports a peripherally driven central organization. If language modules develop like other brain compartments, then environmental consistencies can engender both structural and functional language units (e.g., the different phonemic, semantic, and grammatical structures of different languages).

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A. C. Catania (2003b) Verbal governance, verbal shaping, and attention to verbal stimuli. In: Behavior theory and philosophy, ed. K. A. Lattal & P. N. Chase , pp. 301–21. Kluwer/Academic Press.

K. C. Catania & J. H. Kaas (1997) The mole nose instructs the brain. Somatosensory and Motor Research 14:5658.

K. D. Irvine & C. Rauskolb (2001) Boundaries in development: Formation and function. Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology 17:189214.

R. Jackendoff (2003) Précis of Foundations of language: Brain, meaning, grammar, evolution. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26:651707.

C. Kiecker & A. Lumsden (2005) Compartments and their boundaries in vertebrate brain development. Nature Reviews: Neuroscience 6:553–64.

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Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • ISSN: 0140-525X
  • EISSN: 1469-1825
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences
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