Answer to Question #52586 in Biology for pamela moranda

Question #52586
Formulate a testable hypothesis that confirms how the acquisition of language accounted for the rapid intellectual development of humans during evolution. Include steps in scientific method.
Expert's answer
Both questions raise an ancillary question about whether specific cognitive or learning abilities evolved on the coattails of language evolution or whether language emerged as a coevolutionary by-product of hominin cognitive capacities and social structures. The former implies that some general cognitive abilities, such as music, are evolutionarily subordinate to language ability. The latter suggests that language, music, mathematics, and writing systems are diverse products of a set of cognitive and sociocultural traits common to humans. However, this question is a subject of speculation and not amenable to direct investigation.
A centuries-old question is how language influences perception of the world. The hypothesis isthat our perceptions are indelibly shaped by our language. Studies suggest that, well before they are fluent, infants and toddlers tend to generalize (i.e., perceive as similar) spatial relations based on the spatial predicate assignments in their native language. For example, Koreanlearning toddlers begin to notice differences between events that English-learning children do not readily notice as these events are classified by different spatial predicates in Korean but not in English.

Deák, G.O. (2014). Interrelations of language and cognitive development. Encyclopedia of Language Development (pp. 284-291). P. Brooks & V. Kampe, Eds.

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