Slip of the tongue: Implications for evolution and language development

Forrester, G.S. and Rodriguez, A. 2015. Slip of the tongue: Implications for evolution and language development. Cognition. 141, pp. 103-111. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2015.04.012

TitleSlip of the tongue: Implications for evolution and language development
AuthorsForrester, G.S. and Rodriguez, A.
Abstract

prevailing theory regarding the evolution of language implicates a gestural stage prior to the emergence of speech. In support of a transition of human language from a gestural to a vocal system, articulation of the hands and the tongue are underpinned by overlapping left hemisphere dominant neural regions. Behavioral studies demonstrate that human adults perform sympathetic mouth actions in imitative synchrony with manual actions. Additionally, right-handedness for precision manual actions in children has been corre- lated with the typical development of language, while a lack of hand bias has been associ- ated with psychopathology. It therefore stands to reason that sympathetic mouth actions during fine precision motor action of the hands may be lateralized. We employed a fine-grained behavioral coding paradigm to provide the first investigation of tongue pro- trusions in typically developing 4-year old children. Tongue protrusions were investigated across a range of cognitive tasks that required varying degrees of manual action: precision motor action, gross motor action and no motor actions. The rate of tongue protrusions was influenced by the motor requirements of the task and tongue protrusions were signifi- cantly right-biased for only precision manual motor action (p < .001). From an evolutionary perspective, tongue protrusions can drive new investigations regarding how an early human communication system transitioned from hand to mouth. From a developmental perspective, the present study may serve to reveal patterns of tongue protrusions during the motor development of typically developing children.

KeywordsTongue
Language
Cerebral lateralization
Typically developing children
JournalCognition
Journal citation141, pp. 103-111
ISSN0010-0277
Year2015
PublisherElsevier
Accepted author manuscriptForrester & Rodriguez In Press Uncorrected Proofs.pdf
Publisher's versionForrester & Rodriguez 2015.pdf
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2015.04.012
Web address (URL)http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010027715000840
Publication dates
PublishedJun 2015

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