The Genetic basis of our uniquely human ability:
The gift of speech and language

By Faraneh Vargha-Khadem

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #104
Centre for Bahá'í Studies: Acuto, Italy
July 9–12, 2011
(see list of papers from #104)

    Recent advances in neuroscience and brain imaging techniques, have enabled studies of higher order cognitive functions, and unique human attributes such as consciousness, perception, language, and memory. There is growing awareness among neuroscientists that the products of the human mind transcend the functions of the brain. This in turn has led to questions about how modern humans evolved and became distinct from other species, what attributes make us human, and what are the neural substrates of our moral, ethical, and belief systems. This presentation will review the current understanding about the evolution of our species over the past 4-6 million years, and will address the convergence between the neuroscience view of modern humans, and the Baha'i view of humans as spiritual beings.

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