↓ Skip to main content

The mystery of language evolution

Overview of attention for article published in Frontiers in Psychology, May 2014
Altmetric Badge

About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (98th percentile)

Citations

dimensions_citation
143 Dimensions

Readers on

mendeley
509 Mendeley
Title
The mystery of language evolution
Published in
Frontiers in Psychology, May 2014
DOI 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00401
Pubmed ID
Authors

Marc D. Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert C. Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael J. Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky, Richard C. Lewontin

Abstract

Understanding the evolution of language requires evidence regarding origins and processes that led to change. In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research on this problem as well as a sense that considerable progress has been made. We argue instead that the richness of ideas is accompanied by a poverty of evidence, with essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved. We show that, to date, (1) studies of nonhuman animals provide virtually no relevant parallels to human linguistic communication, and none to the underlying biological capacity; (2) the fossil and archaeological evidence does not inform our understanding of the computations and representations of our earliest ancestors, leaving details of origins and selective pressure unresolved; (3) our understanding of the genetics of language is so impoverished that there is little hope of connecting genes to linguistic processes any time soon; (4) all modeling attempts have made unfounded assumptions, and have provided no empirical tests, thus leaving any insights into language's origins unverifiable. Based on the current state of evidence, we submit that the most fundamental questions about the origins and evolution of our linguistic capacity remain as mysterious as ever, with considerable uncertainty about the discovery of either relevant or conclusive evidence that can adjudicate among the many open hypotheses. We conclude by presenting some suggestions about possible paths forward.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 181 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 509 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 8 2%
Germany 6 1%
United Kingdom 5 <1%
Canada 3 <1%
Peru 2 <1%
France 2 <1%
Brazil 2 <1%
Portugal 1 <1%
Sweden 1 <1%
Other 8 2%
Unknown 471 93%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 118 23%
Researcher 73 14%
Student > Master 72 14%
Student > Bachelor 64 13%
Professor 48 9%
Other 94 18%
Unknown 40 8%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 102 20%
Linguistics 94 18%
Psychology 90 18%
Social Sciences 32 6%
Neuroscience 27 5%
Other 103 20%
Unknown 61 12%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 295. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 05 June 2021.
All research outputs
#66,824
of 18,272,778 outputs
Outputs from Frontiers in Psychology
#117
of 19,478 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#683
of 199,779 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Frontiers in Psychology
#6
of 322 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 18,272,778 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 19,478 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 13.4. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 199,779 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 322 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 98% of its contemporaries.