Researchers at University California-Berkley have mapped what they are colloquially dubbing the “brain thesaurus” in their findings published in Nature. Neuroscientists have long been aware of the human brain’s semantic system or areas of the cerebral cortex that associates words and the knowledge store-house that comes with them. What about individual words? Does every word have a corresponding micro-region? That’s what postdoctoral fellow Alex Huth sought to discover.
Finding the Brain Thesaurus
Six native English-speaking volunteers (including Huth himself) laid in a functional MRI(fMRI) for two hours while listening to natural narrative on The Moth Radio Hour. The fMRIs tracked increased blood-flow to regions of the brain as they listened.
Researchers then “transcribed and annotated” the stories heard during the scans with “the time each word was spoken” and compared them with the correlating fMRI image according to Sci-News.
The data the researchers collected were then put through a spacial algorithm called PrAGMATiC, that weighed words with similar meanings.
Finally, PrAGMATiC mapped the weighted words on a flattened or 2-D cortical diagram color-coded by the following semantically related groups: visual, tactile, numeric, locational, abstract, temporal, professional, violent, communal, mental, emotional and social.
Brain Thesaurus Research Results
Not only were the researchers able to map words to specific foci on the cerebral cortex, Huth and his colleagues observed a consistent global pattern of words-groups between the individual scans. Huth believes this conserved mapping of semantically related words may eventually help individuals who have lost the facility of speech due to trauma or disease.
Sources: Sci-News, Berkley News
Sign-Up For The Latest From TGNR
Sunday Brunch5 months ago
The New Quartz App: Uzabase’s Bet on the Future of News on Social Media
Culture3 months ago
Haircuts on US Dollar Bills: Ranked
History4 months ago
How did Hitler Fool Stalin so Badly with the Invasion of the USSR? | WW2 Brain Bucket Reader Q&A
Inspiration3 months ago
Bethel Church Asylum Service Ends with Tamrazyan Residency Granted
Neuronomics5 months ago
“Brain on Fire” By Susannah Cahalan Review | Neuronomics