Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Workshop on Brain Speech Processes

The Society for Neurosciences organized a workshop on COMMUNICATION ENGAGES COMPLEX BRAIN CIRCUITRY AND PROCESSES: see pdf file.
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).
(Thanks to Oliver for the link.)

Note: the Society is a great organisation and publishes a primer on neuroscience key concepts and a booklet on neuroscience.


JustinH said...

As a 28 year old male who stutters, I can offer the following input on this subject. I find it very difficult to listen to others and process what they are saying while I am speaking (especially while stuttering). This results often in talking over people, or interrupting them. I feel that I am so focused on speaking that there is little room to process what the other person is saying.

Tom Weidig said...

Yes, but I am wondering whether that is really due to structural and functional differences, or just because you are in a panic tunnel mode and have trouble doing multi-tasking.

Anonymous said...

Would it be possible to find out the nature of the effect the processing difference has? For example, requiring more or less time to make connections between sounds and words when learning a foreign language.