Article published in:Syntactic Complexity: Diachrony, acquisition, neuro-cognition, evolution
Edited by T. Givón and Masayoshi Shibatani
[Typological Studies in Language 85] 2009
► pp. 461–490
Neural mechanisms of recursive processing in cognitive and linguistic complexity
Cognition in the human brain requires processes of memory consolidation and retrieval that are carried out across reentrant connections between limbic cortex and multiple network levels of the neocortex. Given this layered architecture, and the point-to-point reentrance of the connections, cognition is likely to be recursive, changing its internal representations dynamically with each cycle of consolidation. To provide structure and constancy within this dynamic interplay, language operations appear to draw on the capacity for inhibitory specification emergent within the ventral, paleocortical corticolimbic pathways. We propose that inhibitory specification has been essential to regulate the dynamism of recursive consolidation, supporting the evolution of both the object qualities of words and the regularized structure of grammar.
Published online: 22 April 2009