Relational language supports relational cognition in humans and apes

Dedre Gentner*, Stella Christie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


We agree with Penn et al. that our human cognitive superiority derives from our exceptional relational ability. We far exceed other species in our ability to grasp analogies and to combine relations into higher-order structures (Gentner 2003). However, we argue here that possession of an elaborated symbol system - such as human language - is necessary to make our relational capacity operational.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-137
Number of pages2
JournalBehavioral and Brain Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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