The Evolution of Lateral Asymmetries, Language, Tool Use, and Intellect

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9780121245603: The Evolution of Lateral Asymmetries, Language, Tool Use, and Intellect

"Promises a good deal in its title and delivers even more... The authors have thoroughly researched and synthesized the literature on asymmetries from lower vertebrates to early hominids and human beings. Along the way, the reader is provided with a wealth of information about asymmetries in birds, rats and mice, nonprimate mammals, and primates... Come as close to being 'state of the art as anything I have read on this subject, making it a 'must-read for those with an academic or research interest in the evolution of the brain and cognition... Well organized and well illustrated."
"In depth coverage... Each chapter provides comprehensive, informative, and scholarly reviews of the literature... The approach of these authors... is decidedly refreshing."
"The authors have convincingly supported their primary argument: that although hemispheric specialization is most striking with regard to human speech and other advanced cognitive abilities, cerebral asymmetry is a quantitative rather than a qualitative distinction between human and other animals."
--Heather Williams in SCIENCE
"It is a pleasure to read a book that is a genuine work of scholarship on the part of two productive researchers...It is a superbly thorough review, and will serve as an excellent, up-to-date sourcebook of information on human evolution and its antecedents... The authors comment intelligently and insightfully on many of the issues surrounding different aspects of human evolution."
"The strength of this book lies in the thoroughness with which anatomical, physiological, and behavioural asymmetries in vertebrates have been documented. The extraordinary detail of the early chapters is imbued with the authors enthusiasm for their subject...Scholarly and comprehensive...A useful reference database for scientists with an interest in brain and behavioural asymmetries in birds or mammals."
"Their treatment is comprehensive and up-to-date; it should convince sceptics that asymmetries in brain function and in behaviour deserve as much attention in other higher vertebrates as they receive in humans... Great care has gone into the preparation of the book... The issues are perennially fascinating and the treatment clear and attractive... Proper scepticism and balance are shown."

Vom Verlag:

On the cutting edge of neuropsychology and cognitive science, this book investigates lateral asymmetries in the human brain and contrasts these with asymmetries in primates as well as invertebrates, primitive vertebrates, birds, and other mammals. Nine illustrated chapters present asymmetries in lower life forms, progress to hominoids and hominids, and discuss how such asymmetries are responsible for the development of language, upright posture, tool use, intellect, and self-awareness in humans. A summary and conclusions section at the end of each chapter provide both a general survey and a balanced judgment of any controversial aspects previously discussed. Regarded as experts in their field, the authors have received much acclaim for their previous books.Key Features -- Shows that lateralization of function occurs systematically throughout the animal kingdom and is not unique to humans -- Explains why lateralization of function depends upon a complex interplay of generic, structural, and environmental factors and is also subject to hormonal and maturational determination -- Demonstrates the close commonality between human and nonhuman species with respect to such hitherto uniquely human attributes as consciousness, tool use, and language -- Provides an account of human evolution in the context of language, tool use, art, and intellect at the neurological, behavioral, and archaeological levels -- a new synthesis

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