New Method to Study Brain and Language

gettyimages 98359086 s tThis week, Science Daily summarized research published in the Journal of Neurophysiology describing “a new method to analyze brain imaging data — one that may paint a clearer picture of how our brain produces and understands language.”

Since the early 1990s, medical professionals and neuroscientists have used “functional magnetic resonance imaging”, or fMRI, to diagnose a variety of brain disorders and to research how the brain actually works. Based on conventional MRI developed in the 1970s, fMRI creates detailed images of activity in the brain generated from even the slightest stimulation, ranging from sounds, to visual images, to touch.

Understandably, fMRI has become a valuable tool for learning how the brain processes language.

According to researchers at MIT, even fMRI can’t always tell whether a particular “activation ‘blob’” is handling language, arithmetic, music or some combination. By using nonword sentences like “BOKER DESH HE THE DRILES LER CICE FRISTY’S” together with fMRI, these researchers are beginning to discover what the language areas in the brain are really doing.

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