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FOXP2: Linking Language and Autism 

FOXP2: Linking Language and Autism
Chapter:
FOXP2: Linking Language and Autism
Author(s):

Genevieve Konopka

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199744312.003.0019
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date: 24 October 2020

Identifying the genes involved in language not only is important for the understanding of disorders such as ASDs but also provides a window into understanding the evolution of the human brain. Spoken language is only present in humans. For example, while other animals have developed methods of vocal communication, none have the ability to convey recursive ideas (i.e., ideas embedded within other ideas), although the idea of human-specific recursion is still being debated (Hauser, Chomsky, & Fitch, 2002; Penn, Holyoak, & Povinelli, 2008; Pinker & Jackendoff, 2005; Premack, 2007). Other potentially human-specific features of language include teaching language, the use of language to teach an extrinsic skill, and the use of language to develop the theory of mind (Penn et al., 2008; Premack, 2007). It is therefore not surprising that inherently human-specific diseases such as ASDs are defined by disruption of spoken language (Abrahams & Geschwind, 2008).

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