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Sociobiology of Communicationan interdisciplinary perspective$
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Patrizia d'Ettorre and David P. Hughes

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199216840

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199216840.001.0001

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Language unbound: genomic conflict and psychosis in the origin of modern humans

Language unbound: genomic conflict and psychosis in the origin of modern humans

(p.225) CHAPTER 13 Language unbound: genomic conflict and psychosis in the origin of modern humans
Sociobiology of Communication

Bernard J Crespi

Oxford University Press

Human social communication is impaired in the two primary disorders of the ‘social brain’, autism, and schizophrenia. This chapter describes a new hypothesis for the role of language in the evolution and development of autism and schizophrenia: that the cores of these two conditions are disordered social communication, with dysregulated social-linguistic development mediated in part by extremes of bias in maternal vs paternal imprinted gene expression, resulting in extreme mentalistic vs extreme mechanistic cognition. It evaluates this hypothesis via tests of the molecular evolution of genes underlying schizophrenia and language, analyses of how the human social brain has evolved, and evaluation of the roles of genomic conflicts in human development, enculturation, and communication via study of the genetic and epigenetic underpinnings of social-brain disorders. These convergent lines of evidence from evolutionary theory and neurogenomics support the hypothesis that psychosis represents the ‘illness that made us human’.

Keywords:   genomic conflict, autism, psychosis, schizophrenia, language, human evolution, genomic imprinting, neurodevelopment, sociality

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