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Intentional communication and the anterior cingulate cortex

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This paper presents arguments for considering the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) as a critical structure in intentional communication. Different facets of intentionality are discussed in relationship to this neural structure. The macrostructural and microstructural characteristics of ACC are proposed to sustain the uniqueness of its architecture, as an overlap region of cognitive, affective and motor components. At the functional level, roles played by this region in communication include social bonding in mammals, control of vocalization in humans, semantic and syntactic processing, and initiation of speech. The involvement of the anterior cingulate cortex in social cognition is suggested where, for infants, joint attention skills are considered both prerequisites of social cognition and prelinguistic communication acts. Since the intentional dimension of gestural communication seems to be connected to a region previously equipped for vocalization, ACC might well be a starting point for linguistic communication.

Keywords: anterior cingulate cortex; communication; intentionality; social cognition

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Psychology, Babes-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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