Vocal learning, prosody, and basal ganglia: Don't underestimate their complexity
Ravignani, A., Martins, M., & Fitch, W. T.
Vocal learning, prosody, and basal ganglia: Don't underestimate their complexity. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 37
(6), 570-571. doi:10.1017/S0140525X13004184.
In response to: Brain mechanisms of acoustic communication in humans and nonhuman primates: An evolutionary perspective
Ackermann et al.'s arguments in the target article need sharpening and rethinking at both mechanistic and evolutionary levels. First, the authors' evolutionary arguments are inconsistent with recent evidence concerning nonhuman animal rhythmic abilities. Second, prosodic intonation conveys much more complex linguistic information than mere emotional expression. Finally, human adults' basal ganglia have a considerably wider role in speech modulation than Ackermann et al. surmise.