Language Processing, Development and Evolution

M. Catani*, M. S. Dawson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Complex language has historically been viewed as the direct consequence of specialization of Broca's and Wernicke's regions in the left hemisphere, and the arcuate fasciculus that connects them. While these structures play a central role in language, an array of other cortical regions, subcortical structures, and white matter connections also implement networks for communication. Some of these networks are shared with nonhuman primates and develop early in life; others are uniquely human and mature later. An anatomical model for social communication and language evolution and development has incorporated these networks into a stepwise neurodevelopmental and evolutionary hierarchy. The model consists of five increasingly complex levels of social communication and formal language-from the representation of informative actions and communicative intentions to lexical/semantic processing, syntactic analysis, and pragmatic integration. The model can help scientists and clinicians understand the development and evolution of language, and the disorders that affect language through life.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConn's Translational Neuroscience
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780128025963
ISBN (Print)9780128023815
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2016


  • Arcuate fasciculus
  • Broca's area
  • Communication
  • Evolution
  • Language
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Primate
  • SCALED model
  • Wernicke's area


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