Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 2021 May 22;376(1824):20200188. Epub 2021 Mar 22.
Linguistics Program, Department of English, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA.
We demonstrate how two linguistic phenomena, figurative language (implicating cross-modality) and derogatory language (implicating aggression), both demand a precise degree of (dis)inhibition in the same cortico-subcortical brain circuits, in particular cortico-striatal networks, whose connectivity has been significantly enhanced in recent evolution. We examine four cognitive disorders/conditions that exhibit abnormal patterns of (dis)inhibition in these networks: schizophrenia (SZ), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), synaesthesia and Tourette's syndrome (TS), with the goal of understanding why the two phenomena altered reactive aggression and altered cross-modality cluster together in these disorders. Our proposal is that enhanced cross-modality (necessary to support language, in particular metaphoricity) was a result, partly a side-effect, of self-domestication (SD). Read More