Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Finding thoughts in speech: How human brain processes thoughts during natural communication

Date:
June 20, 2014
Source:
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Summary:
For the first time, neuroscientists were able to find out how different thoughts are reflected in neuronal activity during natural conversations. They studied the link between speech, thoughts and brain responses.

Memory- or self-related content? The researchers analysed content-specific neural responses and observed clearly visible patterns of brain activity.
Credit: BrainLinks-BrainTools

For the first time, neuroscientists were able to find out how different thoughts are reflected in neuronal activity during natural conversations. Johanna Derix, Olga Iljina and the interdisciplinary team of Dr. Tonio Ball from the Cluster of Excellence BrainLinks-BrainTools at the University of Freiburg and the Epilepsy Center of the University Medical Center Freiburg (Freiburg, Germany) report on the link between speech, thoughts and brain responses in a special issue of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Related Articles


"Thoughts are difficult to investigate, as one cannot observe in a direct manner what the person is thinking about. Language, however, reflects the underlying mental processes, so we can perform linguistic analyses of the subjects' speech and use such information as a "bridge" between the neuronal processes and the subject's thoughts," explains neuroscientist Johanna Derix..

The novelty of the authors' approach is that the participants were not instructed to think and talk about a given topic in an experimental setting. Instead, the researchers analysed everyday conversations and the underlying brain activity, which was recorded directly from the cortical surface. This study was possible owing to the help of epilepsy patients in whom recordings of neural activity had to be obtained over several days for the purpose of pre-neurosurgical diagnostics.

For a start, borders between individual thoughts in continuous conversations had to be identified. Earlier psycholinguistic research indicates that a simple sentence is a suitable unit to contain a single thought, so the researchers opted for linguistic segmentation into simple sentences. The resulting "idea" units were classified into different categories. These included, for example, whether or not a sentence expressed memory- or self-related content. Then, the researchers analysed content-specific neural responses and observed clearly visible patterns of brain activity.

Thus, the neuroscientists from Freiburg have demonstrated the feasibility of their innovative approach to investigate, via speech, how the human brain processes thoughts during real-life conditions.


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, Johanna Weiske, Andreas Schulze-Bonhage, Ad Aertsen, Tonio Ball. From speech to thought: the neuronal basis of cognitive units in non-experimental, real-life communication investigated using ECoG. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 2014; 8 DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00383

Cite This Page:

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. "Finding thoughts in speech: How human brain processes thoughts during natural communication." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140620103127.htm>.
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. (2014, June 20). Finding thoughts in speech: How human brain processes thoughts during natural communication. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140620103127.htm
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. "Finding thoughts in speech: How human brain processes thoughts during natural communication." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140620103127.htm (accessed March 4, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Former NFL Players Donate Brains to Science

Former NFL Players Donate Brains to Science

Reuters - US Online Video (Mar. 3, 2015) — Super Bowl champions Sidney Rice and Steve Weatherford donate their brains, post-mortem, to scientific research into repetitive brain trauma. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alzheimer's Protein Plaque Found In 20-Year-Olds

Alzheimer's Protein Plaque Found In 20-Year-Olds

Newsy (Mar. 3, 2015) — Researchers found an abnormal protein associated with Alzheimer&apos;s disease in the brains of 20-year-olds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) — Researchers gave lidocaine to 112 patients, and about 88 percent of the subjects said they needed less migraine-relief medicine the next day. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) — Margaret Duffy of the University of Missouri talks about her study on the social network and the envy and depression that Facebook use can cause. 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