New human and animal studies released today uncover the extensive brain wiring used in communication and provide new insights into how the brain processes and produces language, accents, and sounds.
The research also explores the brain abnormalities in people with speech and language problems, such as stuttering, suggesting future treatment avenues. The new findings were presented at Neuroscience 2010, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world's largest source of emerging news on brain science and health.
Communication involves a complex series of tasks, from processing and comprehending sounds to producing jaw movements. Better understanding of the brain circuitry involved may benefit the more than 46 million Americans who suffer some form of communication impairment.
Research released today shows that:
The network of brain connections vital to understanding language is more extensive than previously thought. Researchers identified new speech-related pathways by mapping language areas in the brains of people with and without language difficulties (Nina Dronkers, PhD, abstract 837.13, see attached summary).
People who stutter show abnormal brain activity even when reading or listening, which suggests stuttering is due to problems in speech processing, not just production (Kate Watkins, PhD, abstract 563.19, see attached summary).
People process words spoken in their native accent differently compared with other accents, which may explain perceived communication difficulties and social inferences attributed to foreign accents (Patricia Bestelmeyer, PhD, abstract 169.13, see attached summary).
Men who stutter show different brain connections than women who stutter. These findings may help explain why five times more adult men stutter than women (Soo-Eun Chang, PhD, abstract 790.9, see attached summary).
Brain cells in songbirds are tuned to communicative sounds and respond even when those sounds are mixed with background noise. These findings provide insight into how people can focus on a conversation in a loud room, also known as the "cocktail party effect" (Frederic Theunissen, PhD, abstract 275.17, see attached summary).
"Communication is our means of expressing thoughts, feelings, and emotions — and today's research not only provides valuable clues to how the brain tackles this vital task, but also gives insight into how we might address and treat communication problems," said press conference moderator Steven L. Small, MD, PhD, of the University of Chicago, an expert on language and the brain.
This research was supported by national funding agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, as well as private and philanthropic organizations.View the full news release and materials here:
Kat Snodgrass | EurekAlert!
The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences