Dr. Erich Jarvis: The Neuroscience of Speech, Language & Music

todaySeptember 13, 2023 2

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Episode Card 87 Erich Jarvis

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My guest this episode is Dr. Erich Jarvis, PhD—Professor and the Head of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics of Language at Rockefeller University and Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Dr. Jarvis’ research spans the molecular and genetic mechanisms of vocal communication, comparative genomics of speech and language across species and the relationship between speech, language and movement. We discuss the unique ability of humans (and certain animal species) to learn and communicate using complex language, including verbal speech production and the ability to interpret both written and spoken language. We also discuss the connections between language, singing and dance and why song may have evolved before language. Dr. Jarvis also explains some of the underlying biological and genetic components of stutter/speech disorders, non-verbal communication, why it’s easiest to learn a language as a child and how individuals can learn multiple languages at any age. This episode ought to be of interest to everyone interested in the origins of human speech, language, music and culture and how newer technology, such as social media and texting, change our brains. 

Dr. Erich Jarvis

Other Resources


  • 00:00:00 Dr. Erich Jarvis & Vocal Communication
  • 00:03:43 Momentous Supplements
  • 00:04:36 InsideTracker, ROKA, LMNT
  • 00:08:01 Speech vs. Language, Is There a Difference?
  • 00:10:55 Animal Communication, Hand Gestures & Language
  • 00:15:25 Vocalization & Innate Language, Evolution of Modern Language
  • 00:21:10 Humans & Songbirds, Critical Periods, Genetics, Speech Disorders
  • 00:27:11 Innate Predisposition to Learn Language, Cultural Hybridization
  • 00:31:34 Genes for Speech & Language
  • 00:35:49 Learning New or Multiple Languages, Critical Periods, Phonemes
  • 00:41:39 AG1 (Athletic Greens)
  • 00:42:52 Semantic vs. Effective Communication, Emotion, Singing
  • 00:47:32 Singing, Link Between Dancing & Vocal Learning
  • 00:52:55 Motor Theory of Vocal Learning, Dance
  • 00:55:03 Music & Dance, Emotional Bonding, Genetic Predispositions
  • 01:04:11 Facial Expressions & Language, Innate Expressions
  • 01:09:35 Reading & Writing
  • 01:15:13 Writing by Hand vs. Typing, Thoughts & Writing
  • 01:20:58 Stutter, Neurogenetics, Overcome Stutter, Conversations
  • 01:26:58 Modern Language Evolution: Texting, Social Media & the Future
  • 01:36:26 Movement: The Link to Cognitive Growth
  • 01:40:21 Comparative Genomics, Earth Biogenome Project, Genome Ark, Conservation
  • 01:48:24 Evolution of Skin & Fur Color
  • 01:51:22 Dr. Erich Jarvis, Zero-Cost Support, YouTube Feedback, Spotify & Apple Reviews, Momentous Supplements, AG1 (Athletic Greens), Instagram, Twitter, Neural Network Newsletter, Huberman Lab Clips
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