Language and Communication

Howard C. Nusbaum

in The Oxford Handbook of Social Neuroscience

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780195342161
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Language and Communication

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Social Psychology



This chapter argues that we can think about language in terms of communicative interaction as a psychologically significant act that was part of the basic force shaping the evolution of the brain, rather than think about language simply as a signal for transmitting information. By this construal, the listener’s goal may not be to interpret the linguistic message but to interact with the interlocutor in a way that satisfies specific social goals and motives. This would suggest that communicative behavior—broadly construed—should be affected by a conversational partner’s behavior, even beyond the simple process of interpretation.

Keywords: language; neurons; neural mechanism; speech perception; communication

Article.  9238 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience ; Social Psychology

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