Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Figures Of Speech: Understanding Idioms Requires Both Sides Of The Brain

Date:
September 15, 2009
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
Is it better to treat someone with kid gloves or to treat them carefully? Researchers in Italy have investigated how the brain recognizes that the first phrase means the same as the second. The researchers suggest that we use both hemispheres to understand idioms.

Is it better to treat someone with kid gloves or to treat them carefully? Researchers in Italy have investigated how the brain recognises that the first phrase means the same as the second. Publishing in the open access journal BMC Neuroscience, the researchers suggest that we use both hemispheres to understand idioms.

Dr Alice Proverbio from the University of Milano-Bicocca and colleagues used electrophysiological and LORETA source reconstruction analysis to investigate the role of the two cerebral hemispheres in idiom comprehension. By analysing the brain activity of 11 students, they found that idiomatic sentences activated the right middle temporal gyrus (after 350ms) and the right medial frontal gyrus (at 270-300 and 500-780ms).

All phrases were matched for length and familiarity, yet the students took longer to associate an idiomatic phrase with a linked word than to associate a literal phrase with its linked word. This suggests that idioms are more difficult to understand and denote superior levels of language use and processing.

The findings also shed light on whether the brain tries to understand a familiar idiom literally before it understands it as a metaphor. The left inferior frontal gyrus, the part of the brain thought to be used to suppress literal meaning, was not specifically activated by idiom comprehension; however, the limbic regions, which are involved in emotional responses, were (at 400-450ms).

Dr Proverbio concludes: "though the interpretation of language involves widespread activation bilaterally, the right hemisphere has a special role in the comprehension of idiomatic meaning."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Alice M Proverbio, Nicola Crotti, Alberto Zani and Roberta Adorni. The role of left and right hemispheres in the comprehension of idiomatic language: an electrical neuroimaging study. BMC Neuroscience, 2009; (in press) [link]

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "Figures Of Speech: Understanding Idioms Requires Both Sides Of The Brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090914194654.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2009, September 15). Figures Of Speech: Understanding Idioms Requires Both Sides Of The Brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090914194654.htm
BioMed Central. "Figures Of Speech: Understanding Idioms Requires Both Sides Of The Brain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090914194654.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Research from Washington University suggest people with conscientious spouses have greater career success. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Researchers say certain markers in the blood can predict risk of psychosis later in the life. The test can aid in early treatment for the condition. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

AP (Sep. 25, 2014) Teri Tacheny, a harpist, has a loyal following of fans who appreciate her soothing music. Every month, gorillas, orangutans and monkeys amble down to hear her play at the Como Park Zoo in Minnesota. (Sept. 25) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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