ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (7): 1141-1155.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2020.01141

• Regular Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Use gesture instead of speech: Hand action and language evolution

YIN Rong()   

  1. School of Teacher Education, Weifang University, Weifang 261061, China
  • Received:2019-08-06 Online:2020-07-15 Published:2020-05-21
  • Contact: Rong YIN


Language evolution is an important issue of evolutionary psychology. Mirror System Hypothesis, Tool-making Hypothesis and Teaching Hypothesis explain the relationship between hand action and language evolution from different perspectives. All three hypotheses agree that human language originates from the experience of hand movements. Relevant empirical researches found that sign language and spoken language have some common features, language and hand movements share common neural circuits, gesture development can predict the level of language ability, and gesture can enhance the transmission efficiency of knowledge about tool making. These studies provide empirical support for specific inferences of above three hypotheses. Future research in this field needs to focus on the evolutionary relationship between sign language and spoken language, as well as the relationship between human language and other cognitive characteristics.

Key words: hand action, gesture, sign language, language, evolution

CLC Number: