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Private Space For Language In Brain – Exposed By MIT

Question asked by prabakaran in #Coffee Room on Aug 31, 2011
prabakaran · Aug 31, 2011
Rank D2 - MASTER
Scientists from all around the world who were researching about the functional specificity (which focuses on which discrete parts of the brain handle what distinct task) of brain were still struggling without a proper system for analysing complex brain process until now, but not no more. A research team from MIT suggested a method for studying the functional specificity of brain and they successfully localised the part of brain which is responsible for language and not any other. “The paper is a real advance in the neuroscience of language,” says Steven Pinker, a professor of psychology at Harvard University and author of several popular books.


Although scientists were already familiar with functional specificity in some domains like in motor systems where they identified which patch of nerves control tongue and which controls your left hand and so. But this new research paved the way for a completely new dimension in the research of understanding the more complex activities of brain.

As per traditional research everyone uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and does a group analysis by comparing 10-50 subjects to study the brain. But this old method cannot yield an accurate result for complex brain activities. So this team came up with a new idea which gave them an evidence for the reservation of a bit of space in brain for language and for nothing else.

The main law of their new method is that “the pattern of activity in one brain is ever compared with the patterns of other activities from the same brain”. The pattern they obtain from the activities excluding language includes one on exact arithmetic, two on working memory, three on cognitive control and one on music. The reason for choosing these activities was that they were “most commonly argued to share neural machinery with language”, Fedorenko says.

This research in future will also help to locate other non-language functional specificity in brain. Also these research team members MIT undergraduate Michael Behr, principal investigator Nancy Kanwisher and research scientist Evelina Fedorenko were planned to delve deeper into this area.

Source: MIT News Posted in: #Coffee Room

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