Friday, July 25, 2008

Google decides

OK. I let Google decide on neurological and neurophysiological.
    6 050 hits for "neurophysiological stuttering"
125 000 hits for "neurological stuttering"
So neurological is used 20 times more often! So I will keep on using neurological for anything related to either the brain's constituents (anatomical / structural) or its primary functioning and interacting (functional).

In any way, neurophysiological is too long a word to type, and too pompous.


Greg said...

Us academic types... We can't help it.

Tom Weidig said...

So what is your opinion on the two words?

My rule is to use as simple English as possible, and "functional" seems to me simpler than "neurophysiological". But I think using the word for the field like neurophysiology is fine for me.

Greg said...

Want my honest opinion? It's crap. Neurology, by its nature, is physiological. To suggest that there's some kind of secret semantic difference between the two (and only the members of a secret club are smart enough to know the difference) is comical.

It's meaningless ivory tower academic elite speak. Since I hear it (if not produce it myself) frequently, it's quite easy to smell my own kind...

Shanqing Cai said...

Sorry for the previous post. It was posted prematurely.
To my knowledge, the major difference between "neurology" and "neurophysiology", and hence between "neurological" and "neurophysiological", is that they are two different disciplines in the academia (a.k.a., the ivory tower).

Neurology is a branch of medicine, whereas neurophysiology is a branch of biology. So one can say that the former is more concerned with disease states of the nervous system, whereas the latter is primarily interested in the normal aspects of it.

As to whether one should say "neurology of stuttering" or "neurophysiology of stuttering", you'll find people supporting either one. Using the former implies that there is something wrong going one with the brain, which may piss off some political correctness advocates. Moreover, stuttering hasn't historically been a focus of neurology. However, using "neurophysiology of stuttering" will also make some people uncomfortable because the word "neurophysiology" has a strong implication of the processes which are going on at the cellular / neuronal level, because this field started with the work of people like Hodgkin and Huxley, Hubel and Wiesel, who used single neurons as their materials. Our current understanding of the brain mechanism of speech at the cellular level is patchy at best.

So I geuss a good compromise between the two is "neural mechanisms of stuttering", which is happily ambiguous and succinct.