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Harnessed

By Mark Changizi

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Publication Date: August 2011

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Description

The scientific consensus is that our ability to understand human speech has evolved over hundreds of thousands of years. After all, there are whole portions of the brain devoted to human speech. We learn to understand speech too quickly and with almost no training and can seamlessly absorb enormous amounts of information simply by hearing it. Surely we evolved this capability over thousands of generations.

Or did we? Portions of the human brain are also devoted to reading. Children learn to read at a very young age and can absorb information even more quickly through reading than through hearing. We know that we didn’t evolve to read because reading is only a few thousand years old.

In Harnessed, cognitive scientist Mark Changizi demonstrates that human speech has been very specifically “designed” to harness the sounds of nature, sounds we’ve evolved over millions of years to readily understand. Long before humans evolved, mammals have learned to interpret the sounds of nature to understand both threats and opportunities. Our speech—regardless of language—is very clearly based on the sounds of nature.

Even more fascinating, Changizi shows that music itself is based on natural sounds. Music—seemingly one of the most human of inventions—is literally built on sounds and patterns of sound that have existed since the beginning of time.

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About the Author

MarkChangizi

Mark Changizi

Mark Changizi is an assistant professor of cognitive science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His research areas tend to concern the evolutionary function and design principles governing complex behaviors, perceptions and organisms. His first book appeared in 2003 with Kluwer, an academic monograph called The Brain from 25,000 Feet: High Level Explorations of Brain Complexity, Perception, Induction and Vagueness (Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht). He is the first author on 25 journal articles in diverse topics and Dr. Changizi’s research has been written up in more than 75 magazines and newspapers worldwide, including Time Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, Discover Magazine, New Scientist (twice), Financial Times, Daily Telegraph (twice), Scientific American, The Times of London, Natural History Magazine, Reuters, ABC News, MSNBC, Fox News, Gehirn & Geist Magazine, Bild der Wissenschaft (twice), Der Standard, Rhein Zeitung, Die Presse, Die Welt, De Morgen, Suddeutsche Zeitung, NRC Handelsblad, Internet Haber, Spiegel and Arzte Zeitung. He has also appeared as a guest on the CBC News “As It Happens” radio show.

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Publication Details

Format: E-book Pdf

Format: Paperback

Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 1 in.

Weight: 1.25 lbs.

Publication Date: August 1, 2011

Format: E-book Mobi

Format: E-book Epub

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