Saturday, May 4, 2013

Imagine A Flying Pig: How Words Take Shape In The Brain

Although a flying pig doesn't exist in the real world, our brains use what we know about pigs and birds — and superheroes — to create one in our mind's eye when we hear or read those words.

Although a flying pig doesn't exist in the real world, our brains use what we know about pigs and birds — and superheroes — to create one in our mind's eye when we hear or read those words.
This is a story about a duck. More precisely, it's a story about what your brain just did when you read the word "duck."

Chances are, your brain created an image of a web-footed waterfowl. It also may have recalled the sound of quacking or the feel of feathers. And new research suggests that these mental simulations are essential to understanding language.

Just a few decades ago, many linguists thought the human brain had evolved a . It seemed plausible that our brains have some unique structure or system. After all, no animal can use language the way people can.
But , scientists began testing the language-module theory using "functional" MRI technology that let them watch the brain respond to words. And what they saw didn't look like a module, says Benjamin Bergen, a researcher at the University of California, San Diego, and author of the book .

For the rest of the story: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/05/02/180036711/imagine-a-flying-pig-how-words-take-shape-in-the-brain

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