Taming Ourselves

  • Francisco Aboitiz


The origin of speech took place in an intense social context, where our ancestors needed to perceive the intentions of others to live in society. Mind reading ability has been proposed to result from a built-in mechanism acquired in human evolution. I suggest that we gradually started believing others have minds, after engaging with them in reciprocal interactions through speech, sharing emotions and knowledge about the world. Reciprocal behavior results from a strong motivation to obtain social reward from others, which was associated in our ancestors to a selective pressure to delay development and minimize aggression to favor cooperativity, a process not unlike that has occurred when domesticating other animals.

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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francisco Aboitiz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Medical School, and Interdisciplinary Center for NeurosciencePontificia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile

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