Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Conceptual representation in the brain: Towards mind-reading?

Date:
April 17, 2014
Source:
Radboud University Nijmegen
Summary:
Your measured brain signals can reveal whether you are thinking about an animal or a tool. That’s what neuroscientists discovered during her research, where she investigated the conceptual representation of words and objects in the human brain. This knowledge is useful for the development of tools that convert brain signals into speech.

Your measured brain signals can reveal whether you are thinking about an animal or a tool. That's what neuroscientist Irina Simanova discovered during her PhD at Radboud University, where she investigated the conceptual representation of words and objects in the human brain. This knowledge is useful for the development of tools that convert brain signals into speech.

Related Articles


Our memory for word meaning is compartmentalised. When you think of a non-living object like a tool, a specific population of neural cells becomes active. In contrast, when you think of something living, such as an animal, that thought is processed by a different set of neurons. Irina Simanova's examination of the neural networks behind this categorisation offers insight into how we perceive objects, understand words, and produce language.

Cat

Using EEG and fMRI, Simanova was the first to investigate whether the same neurons process different representations of one object -- an image of a cat and the word 'cat'. This proved to be true. 'This shows that there is a common neural component for images and words within one category', Simanova explains. 'That is interesting knowledge for scientists who develop tools to convert brain signals into speech.'

Predicting speech

She also tried to predict the category of a word that the test subject still had to pronounce by using magnetoencephalography (MEG), a technique that makes it possible to track the brain signal accurately in time. She succeeded in approximately 65 percent of the cases. 'A nice result, especially because this was such an explorative study. Of course, ideally we aim for 100-percent correct predictions.' Her next step is to study more objects within a single category. 'In the current study, we used very mainstream objects, for instance cats and dogs. Now I want to find out if the same principles apply for exotic species, like naked cats.'

Irina Simanova (Russia) studied Human and Brain Physiology at Moscow State University. She moved to Nijmegen for a job as a research assistant at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. In 2009, she started her PhD project in the Neurobiology of Language research group. She will defend her thesis on 12 May 2014, at Radboud University Nijmegen. Currently, Simanova is working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour of Radboud University, within the Language in Interaction programme. This programme received a 27.6 million euro Gravitation grant (Zwaartekrachtsubsidie) in 2012.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKILkw_XfLs


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Radboud University Nijmegen. "Conceptual representation in the brain: Towards mind-reading?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140417090540.htm>.
Radboud University Nijmegen. (2014, April 17). Conceptual representation in the brain: Towards mind-reading?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140417090540.htm
Radboud University Nijmegen. "Conceptual representation in the brain: Towards mind-reading?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140417090540.htm (accessed March 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, March 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) European researchers say our smartphone use offers scientists an ideal testing ground for human brain plasticity. Dr Ako Ghosh&apos;s team discovered that the brains and thumbs of smartphone users interact differently from those who use old-fashioned handsets. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) According to a new study by the Alzheimer&apos;s Association, more than half of those who have the degenerative brain disease aren&apos;t told by their doctors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

Newsy (Mar. 23, 2015) Researchers found those who napped for 45 minutes to an hour before being tested on information recalled it five times better than those who didn&apos;t. 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:

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