Chapter published in:How the Brain Got Language – Towards a New Road Map
Edited by Michael A. Arbib
[Benjamins Current Topics 112] 2020
► pp. 167–182
Fitness consequences, platform of trust, cooperation, and turn-taking
In this paper, we complement proximate or ‘how’ explanations for the origins of language, broadening our perspective to include fitness-consequences explanations, i.e. ultimate, or ‘why’ explanations. We identify the platform of trust as a fundamental prerequisite for the development of a language-like system of symbolic communication. The platform of trust is a social niche in which cheap but honest communication with non-kin is possible, because messages tend to be trusted as a default. We briefly consider the place of the platform of trust on the road map as laid out in the Mirror System Hypothesis. We then turn to recent research on turn-taking in primates, which has been proposed as a precursor of the cooperative structuring of conversation in humans. We suggest, instead, that human turn-taking, in its full richness that makes it an interesting explanatory target, may only appear in a communicative system that is already founded on a community-wide, cooperative platform of trust.
Keywords: Mirror System Hypothesis, language evolution, language origins, cooperation, turn-taking, conversation, trust, proximate explanations, ultimate explanations
Published online: 11 August 2020
Arbib, M., Ganesh, V., & Gasser, B.
Arbib, M. A.
Burkart, J. M., Hrdy, S. B., and Van Schaik, C. P.
Burkart, J. M., Allon, O., Amici, F., Fichtel, C., Finkenwirth, C., Heschl, A., … and Meulman, E. J.
Burkart, J. M., Guerreiro Martins, E. M., Miss, F., & Zürcher, Y.
Chow, C. P., Mitchell, J. F., and Miller, C. T.
Couper-Kuhlen, E., and Selting, M.
de Boer, M., Kokal, I., Blokpoel, M., Liu, R., Stolk, A., Roelofs, K., … & Toni, I.
Fedurek, P., Slocombe, K. E., Hartel, J. A., and Zuberbühler, K.
Fröhlich, M., Kuchenbuch, P., Müller, G., Fruth, B., Furuichi, T., Wittig, R. M. and Pika, S.
Ghazanfar, A. A. and Takahashi, D. Y.
Grice, H. P.
Griffin, Z. M. and Bock, K.
Hauser, M. D., Chomsky, N. A., and Fitch, T.
Hockett, C. F.
Jaeggi, A. V., Burkart, J. M., & Van Schaik, C. P.
Keller, P. E., Novembre, G. and Hove, M. J.
Knight, C., and Lewis, J. D.
Krebs, J. R., Dawkins, R.
Levelt, W. M.
Levinson, S. C.
Levinson, S., and Torreira, F.
Masataka, N., and Biben, M.
Mitani, J. C.
Nave, G., Camerer, C., & McCullough, M.
Roberts, S. G., Torreira, F., and Levinson, S. C.
(this volume). Social manipulation, turn-taking and cooperation in apes: Implications for the evolution of language-based interaction in humans. Interaction Studies, 19(1–2), 151–166.
Ruiter de, J. P., Mitterer, H., and Enfield, N. J.
Sachs, J. L., and Rubenstein, D. R.
Sacks, H., Schegloff, E. A. and Jefferson, G.
Sacks, Harvey, Emmanuel Schegloff, and Gail Jefferson
Schegloff, E. A.
Scott-Phillips, T. C., Dickins, T. E., and West, S. A.
(this volume) Why do we want to talk? Evolution of neural substrates of emotion and social cognition. Interaction Studies, 19(1–2), 102–120.
Stivers, T., Enfield, N. J., Brown, P., Englert, C., Hayashi, M., Heinemann, T. and Levinson, S. C.
Takahashi, D. Y., Narayanan, D. Z. and Ghazanfar, A. A.
Tan, J., Ariely, D., and Hare, B.
Theofanopoulou, C., Boeckx, C., Jarvis, E. D.
Tomasello, M., Melis, A. P., Tennie, C., Wyman, E., and Herrmann, E.
Tomasello, M., & Gonzalez-Cabrera, I.
Vega-Redondo, F., and Hasson, O.
Wacewicz, S., Żywiczyński, P.
Wacewicz, S., Żywiczyński, P., and Chiera, A.
Wagner, W. E.
West, S. A., El Mouden, C., and Gardner, A.