Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

Language is shaped for social interactions, as well as by the brain

Mikkel Wallentina1 and Chris D. Fritha1a2

a1 Center for Functionally Integrative Neuroscience, Aarhus University Hospital, Nørrebrogade, Denmark [email protected]

a2 Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, University College London, London, WCIN 3BG, United Kingdom. [email protected]


Language learning is not primarily driven by a motivation to describe invariant features of the world, but rather by a strong force to be a part of the social group, which by definition is not invariant. It is not sufficient for language to be fit for the speaker's perceptual motor system. It must also be fit for social interactions.