Co-Evolution of Human Consciousness and Language



    1. Computer Science Department and USC Brain Project, University of Southern California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles California 90089-2520, USA
    Search for more papers by this author

Address for correspondence: USC Brain Project, University of Southern California, Hedco Neuroscience Building, Room 5, 3614 Watt Way, Los Angeles, California 90089-2520. Voice: 213-740-1176.;


Abstract: This article recalls Cajal's brief mention of consciousness in the Textura as a function of the human brain quite distinct from reflex action, and discusses the view that human consciousness may share aspects of “animal awareness” with other species, but has its unique form because humans possess language. Three ingredients of a theory of the evolution of human consciousness are offered: the view that a précis of intended activity is necessarily formed in the brain of a human that communicates in a human way; the notion that such a précis constitutes consciousness; and a new theory of the evolution of human language based on the mirror system of monkeys and the role of communication by means of hand gestures as a stepping-stone to speech.