Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

Not by thoughts alone: How language supersizes the cognitive toolkit

Hans IJzermana1 and Francesco Foronia2

a1 Department of Social Psychology, Tilburg School of Social & Behavioral Sciences, Tilburg University, 5037 AB Tilburg, The Netherlands. h.ijzerman@uvt.nl http://h.ijzerman.googlepages.com

a2 Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Utrecht University, 3584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands. f.foroni@uu.nl

Abstract

We propose that Vaesen's target article (a) underestimates the role of language in humans' cognitive toolkit and thereby (b) overestimates the proposed cognitive discontinuity between chimps and humans. We provide examples of labeling, numerical computation, executive control, and the relation between language and body, concluding that language plays a crucial role in “supersizing humans' cognitive toolkit.”

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    The cognitive bases of human tool use Krist Vaesen Philosophy & Ethics, School of Innovation Sciences, Eindhoven University of Technology, 5612 AZ Eindhoven, The Netherlands. k.vaesen@tue.nl http://home.ieis.tue.nl/kvaesen
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