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Proceedings Paper

Modeling evolution of the mind and cultures: emotional Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
Author(s): Leonid I. Perlovsky
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Paper Abstract

Evolution of cultures is ultimately determined by mechanisms of the human mind. The paper discusses the mechanisms of evolution of language from primordial undifferentiated animal cries to contemporary conceptual contents. In parallel with differentiation of conceptual contents, the conceptual contents were differentiated from emotional contents of languages. The paper suggests the neural brain mechanisms involved in these processes. Experimental evidence and theoretical arguments are discussed, including mathematical approaches to cognition and language: modeling fields theory, the knowledge instinct, and the dual model connecting language and cognition. Mathematical results are related to cognitive science, linguistics, and psychology. The paper gives an initial mathematical formulation and mean-field equations for the hierarchical dynamics of both the human mind and culture. In the mind heterarchy operation of the knowledge instinct manifests through mechanisms of differentiation and synthesis. The emotional contents of language are related to language grammar. The conclusion is an emotional version of Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. Cultural advantages of "conceptual" pragmatic cultures, in which emotionality of language is diminished and differentiation overtakes synthesis resulting in fast evolution at the price of self doubts and internal crises are compared to those of traditional cultures where differentiation lags behind synthesis, resulting in cultural stability at the price of stagnation. Multi-language, multi-ethnic society might combine the benefits of stability and fast differentiation. Unsolved problems and future theoretical and experimental directions are discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 April 2009
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7347, Evolutionary and Bio-Inspired Computation: Theory and Applications III, 734709 (29 April 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.820719
Show Author Affiliations
Leonid I. Perlovsky, Harvard Univ. (United States)
Air Force Research Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7347:
Evolutionary and Bio-Inspired Computation: Theory and Applications III
Teresa H. O'Donnell; Misty Blowers; Kevin L. Priddy, Editor(s)

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