Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mandarin Language Is Music To The Brain

Date:
December 13, 2006
Source:
University of California - Irvine
Summary:
It's been shown that the left side of the brain processes language and the right side processes music; but what about a language like Mandarin Chinese, which is musical in nature with wide tonal ranges?

It’s been shown that theleftside of the brain processes language and therightside processes music; but what about a language like Mandarin Chinese, which is musical in nature with wide tonal ranges?

UC Irvine researcher Fan-Gang Zeng and Chinese colleagues studied brain scans of subjects as they listened to spoken Mandarin. They found that the brain processes the music, or pitch, of the words first in the right hemisphere before the left side of the brain processes the semantics, or meaning, of the information.

The results show that language processing is more complex than previously thought, and it gives clues to why people who useauditory prostheticdevices have difficulty understanding Mandarin. The study appears in this week’s online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In the English language, Zeng says, changes in pitch dictate the difference between a spoken statement and question, or in mood, but the meaning of the words does not change. This is different in Mandarin, in which changes in pitch affect the meaning of words.

“Mostcochlear implantdevices lack the ability to register large tonal ranges, which is why these device users have difficulty enjoying music … or understanding a tonal language,” says Zeng, a professor of otolaryngology, biomedical engineering, cognitive sciences, and anatomy and neurobiology.

In his hearing and speech lab at UCI, Zeng has made advances in cochlear implant development, discovering that enhancing the detection of frequency modulation (FM) significantly boosts the performance of many hearing aids devices by increasing tonal recognition, which is essential to hearing music and understanding certain spoken languages like Mandarin.

Lin Chen, Hao Luo, Jing-Tian Ni, Zhi-Ou Li and Da-Ren Zhang of the University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, are study co-authors. The National Natural Science Foundation of China and the National Basic Research Program of China provided support.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Irvine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Irvine. "Mandarin Language Is Music To The Brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 December 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061212213436.htm>.
University of California - Irvine. (2006, December 13). Mandarin Language Is Music To The Brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061212213436.htm
University of California - Irvine. "Mandarin Language Is Music To The Brain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061212213436.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) A study for University College London suggests obese people who are discriminated against gain more weight than those who are not. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins