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Summary/Analysis: Is Language The Key To Human Intelligence?

627 words - 3 pages

The article Is Language the Key to Human Intelligence? , Written by David Premack a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, explains how humans have displayed their intelligence through language, unlike animals whose language, (any) hasn’t evolved at all. Premack uses examples such as grammar and syntax of the human language and explains the uniqueness and evolution of language over time. He claims humans have humans have six symbols system: “two that evolved- the genetic code and spoken language- and four that we invented: written language, Arabic numerals, music notation, and lab notation (a system for coding choreography)”. One word that he puts emphasis time over time is Recursion (“makes it possible for the words in a sentence to be widely separated and yet dependent on one another”); claiming that humans have learned both recursive and non-recursive grammar, while tamarin monkeys failed to learn a recursive grammar. This experiment he states may help to explain why language in animals hasn’t evolved over a period of time. Premack also examined other factors such as imitation, teaching, grammar, intelligence, Theory of mind, and Voluntary Control of Sensory- Motor Systems. For example, imitation and teaching explain that chimpanzee’s may watch their mother doing actions academically (problem-solving) she never gives her young enough feedback or just a simple look to reinforce his observation. He concludes by explaining that humans have a preexisting capacity that allows them to represent what they imagine by combining human elements (language) while, animals clearly do not.
The article is structured in an organized matter he explains his experiment in the first section, giving background history on the subject (language) and gives a brief explanation on his main points. He later explains his main points each one separately and in his conclusion explains how all of his arguments together play a significant role in language. The purpose of this...

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