Neurobiological roots of language in primate audition: Common computational properties

Ina Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, Matthias Schlesewsky, Steven L. Small, Josef P. Rauschecker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


Here, we present a new perspective on an old question: how does the neurobiology of human language relate to brain systems in nonhuman primates? We argue that higher-order language combinatorics, including sentence and discourse processing, can be situated in a unified, cross-species dorsal-ventral streams architecture for higher auditory processing, and that the functions of the dorsal and ventral streams in higher-order language processing can be grounded in their respective computational properties in primate audition. This view challenges an assumption, common in the cognitive sciences, that a nonhuman primate model forms an inherently inadequate basis for modeling higher-level language functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-150
Number of pages9
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Auditory objects
  • Dual pathways
  • Language
  • Nonhuman primate model
  • Sequence processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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