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. [email protected]

a2 Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Utrecht University, 3584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands. [email protected]


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.”