Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Doctor' or 'darling' -- Subtle differences of speech: Brain signals tell who someone is talking to

Date:
September 11, 2012
Source:
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Summary:
Human speech comes in countless varieties: When people talk to close friends or partners, they talk differently than when they address a physician. These differences in speech are quite subtle and hard to pinpoint. In a new study, researchers report that they were able to tell from brain signals who a person was talking to. This discovery could contribute to the further development of speech synthesizers for patients with severe paralysis.

A recording site (grey dot) in a brain region responsible for social interaction showed clear differences in neural activity when the subject was talking to the life partner (green curve) vs. the physician (blue curve).

Human speech comes in countless varieties: When people talk to close friends or partners, they talk differently than when they address a physician. These differences in speech are quite subtle and hard to pinpoint.

Related Articles


In a recent special issue of the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Johanna Derix, Dr. Tonio Ball, and their colleagues from the Bernstein Center and the University Medical Center in Freiburg report that they were able to tell from brain signals who a person was talking to. This discovery could contribute to the further development of speech synthesizers for patients with severe paralysis.

In contrast to the experimental research common in human neuroscience, the scientists studied natural, non-experimental behavior. Patients who, for medical reasons, had electrodes implanted underneath their skull allowed their brain activity to be recorded during daily life in the hospital. The Freiburg researchers compared data recorded during natural conversations that the patients had with their physicians and their life partners. They found pronounced differences in the anterior temporal lobe, a brain area well known for its significance in social interaction. Several components of neural signals that are detectable on the brain surface can convey such information.

"This study is only the first step towards elucidating the neural basis of human everyday behavior," explains the neuroscientist and physician Tonio Ball. "Such investigations will become especially important in developing new neurotechnological treatment options for patients with impaired motor and language functions that work in real life situations." The restoration of speech production becomes necessary in some forms of neurological diseases and chronic paralysis. A computer could synthesize speech for patients suffering from such conditions by using their brain signals. Information on who the patient is addressing could help the device to select the degree of formality -- and to prevent it from calling the doctor "darling."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Johanna Derix, Olga Iljina, Andreas Schulze-Bonhage, Ad Aertsen, Tonio Ball. 'Doctor' or 'darling'? Decoding the communication partner from ECoG of the anterior temporal lobe during non-experimental, real-life social interaction. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 2012; 6 DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00251

Cite This Page:

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. "'Doctor' or 'darling' -- Subtle differences of speech: Brain signals tell who someone is talking to." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120911091223.htm>.
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. (2012, September 11). 'Doctor' or 'darling' -- Subtle differences of speech: Brain signals tell who someone is talking to. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120911091223.htm
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. "'Doctor' or 'darling' -- Subtle differences of speech: Brain signals tell who someone is talking to." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120911091223.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) — The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is studying the popular Music and Memory program to see if music, which helps improve the mood of Alzheimer's patients, can also reduce the use of prescription drugs for those suffering from dementia. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

AP (Oct. 28, 2014) — Moms and Dads get a more hands-on approach to parenting with tech-centric products for raising their little ones. (Oct. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Newsy (Oct. 27, 2014) — Researchers have come up with another reason why dark chocolate is good for your health. A substance in the treat can reportedly help with memory. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Five-Year-Olds Learn Coding as Britain Eyes Digital Future

Five-Year-Olds Learn Coding as Britain Eyes Digital Future

AFP (Oct. 27, 2014) — Coding has become compulsory for children as young as five in schools across the UK. Making it the first major world economy to overhaul its IT teaching and put programming at its core. Duration: 02:19 Video provided by AFP
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