Goran Tomasevic/Reuters As human populations disperse, the separation leads to changes both in genes and in language. So if we look at human DNA and languages over time, we should find that they differ along similar geographic lines.
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Why do people use cursing in their everyday language? Many people may see it as a sign of immaturity, but a recent study shows that cursing can help relieve pain and stress.
This is effing awesome! A new reason for people to say whatever the eff they want to! (In private anyway...)
Human language builds on birdsong and speech forms of other primates, researchers hypothesize in new research. From birds, the researchers say, we derived the melodic part of our language, and from other primates, the pragmatic, content-carrying parts of speech. Sometime within the last 100,000 years, those capacities fused into roughly the form of human language that we know today.
The expressive layer and lexical layer have antecedents, the researchers believe, in the languages of birds and other mammals, respectively. For instance, in another paper published last year, Miyagawa, Berwick, and Okanoya presented a broader case for the connection between the expressive layer of human language and birdsong, including similarities in melody and range of beat patterns.
Birds, however, have a limited number of melodies they can sing or recombine, and nonhuman primates have a limited number of sounds they make with particular meanings. That would seem to present a challenge to the idea that human language could have derived from those modes of communication, given the seemingly infinite expression possibilities of humans.
Shigeru Miyagawa, Shiro Ojima, Robert C. Berwick, Kazuo Okanoya. The integration hypothesis of human language evolution and the nature of contemporary languages. Frontiers in Psychology, 2014; 5 DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00564
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
By Clive Wynne | Psychology Today
Consciousness is not a tidy all-or-nothing entity; it varies with age, culture, experience and gender. And if animals have conscious experiences, these presumably vary widely as well. it might help to consider what an animal might be conscious of. It seems more likely than not that some animals are aware of objects and events that are critically important in their lives, such as what food is tasty, which animals are dangerous predators, and whether particular companions are friendly or aggressive.
The fact is that we lack adequate methods to identify conclusively what behavior is "conscious." But scientific study of consciousness is undergoing a renaissance as reflected in recent books, conferences and journals. And these investigations have begun to include nonhuman consciousness. In particular, Alan Cowey of Oxford University and Petra Stoerig of the Institute of Medical Psychology at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Germany have developed procedures by which a monkey can signal whether or not it is consciously aware of a particular visual stimulus.
from the article: "The definition of consciousness has eluded us for over a century, but many psychologists as well as supporters of the Great Ape Project agree on three classes of evidence: language, self-awareness and "theory of mind.""
I continue to explore these concepts in relation to artificial intelligence and machine consciousness. I am interested in this approach to exploring nonhuman intelligence and nonhuman consciousness.