1887
Volume 19, Issue 1-2
  • ISSN 1572-0373
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0381
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Abstract

Abstract

We used optical neuroimaging to explore the extent of functional overlap between working memory (WM) networks involved in language and Early Stone Age toolmaking behaviors. Oldowan tool production activates two verbal WM areas, but the functions of these areas are indistinguishable from general auditory WM, suggesting that the first hominin toolmakers relied on early precursors of verbal WM to make simple flake tools. Early Acheulian toolmaking elicits activity in a region bordering on Broca’s area that is involved in both visual and verbal WM tasks. The sensorimotor and mirror neurons in this area, along with enhancement of general WM capabilities around 1.8 million years ago, may have provided the scaffolding upon which a WM network dedicated to processing exclusively linguistic information could evolve. In the road map going forward, neuro-archaeologists should investigate the trajectory of WM over the course of human evolution to better understand its contribution to language origins.

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2018-09-17
2019-08-19
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