Guest Lecture (Language).pdf

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Psychology 2220A/B
Beth Mac Dougall- Shackleton

Guest Lecture (Language) March-29-12 2:28 PM Outline • Neural basis of language • Localization of language • Aphasia • Language: domain-specific or domain-general mechanisms? • Modularity • Language and music • Language disorders • Evolution of human language • Acquisition in non-human primates • Birdsong and language • Why and how did language evolve? Learning Objectives • At the end of the lecture, students will be able to: • compare and contrast Wernicke-Geschwindmodel with cognitive neurosciencesapproach • reason and argue whether language is mediated via domain-specific or domain-general cognitive mechanisms • understand the value of comparativeapproaches to finding what aspects of language are uniquely human What is language? • Systematicand conventional use of sounds (or signs or written symbols) for the purpose of communicationor self expression Must have symbolsto represent something - reference • Reference (arbitrary) • Syntax: rules to govern • Intentionality • Communicationsystemsin other animals • Bats, whales • Song birds, parrots, • Honeybees • So despite these communicationsystems being complex, they all lack a part of what we classify as human language Neural basis of language • The brain has the ability to perceive, comprehend, and produce language • Aphasia: Brain-damage-produced deficit in the ability to produce or comprehend language • But where is language represented in the brain? Wernicke-Geschwindmodel • A network of serially connected brain regions that process language - this is how we use and percieve language • Localization of perception, comprehension,production - Broca's area - articulary program What you want to say and sends it down to the muscle ○ What you want to say and sends it down to the muscle - Wernicke's area - comprehension..? - Something connects these two areas - Angular - transforming written into auditory signals • Each region performsa specific function, thus damage to specific regions should have predictable effects Joining conversation Auditory cortex perceives what is being said Sends signals to Wernicke's area Then sends it along the arcuate fasciulus to Broca's area Then transfers this to motor cortex so you can say what you want to say Reading aloud Input enters through primary visual cortex Sent to angular gyrus - translates visual signals to auditory signal Send to wernickesfor comprehension of written And then to broca's so And then to motorcortex so you can say what you want Localization of function • Predictable deficits if specific areas are damaged • Broca’s aphasia: limited production • Wernicke’s aphasia: poor comprehensionwith fluent nonsensical speech Deficitsin production vs comprehension • Broca’s aphasia: “Ah ... Monday ... ah, Dad and Paul Haney [himself] and Dad ... hospital. Two ... ah, doctors ... and ah ... thirty minutes .. .and yes ... ah ... hospital. And er Thursday, ten o'clock .. .doctors. Two doctors ... and ah ... teeth. Yeah, ... fine.” • Wernicke’s aphasia: “Uh, well this is the ... the cookie of this. This and this and this and this. These things going in there like that. This is boy things here. This one here, these two things here. And the other one here, back in this one, this one girl look at this one.” - Less problems producing speech, but what they want to say is garbled - doesn’t make as much sense, b/c comprehensionis damaged Problems: Wernicke-Geschwindmodel • Too simplistic • Damage or lesions resulting in aphasia are not restricted to Broca’s or Wernicke’s area - can have damage in other areas such as - Subcortical structures • cortical plasticity and recoveryof function • Comprehension deficits in Broca’s aphasia and production deficits in Wernicke’saphasia - even though these areas have specific functions see some overlap • e.g. ambiguity (Broca's aphasics have a heard time comprehending ambiguity) The apple that the boy is eating is red. The boy that the girl is chasing is tall. Cognitiveneuroscience approach • Perception, comprehension,production can be broken down into simpler cognitive processes • Executive functions - Inhibitory control - Different types of memories- working memory Functioning of normal populations as well as clinical • Use of in vivo brain imaging techniques - Fmri and PET scans to look at what happens in normal people as well as clinical populations • Small, widespread, individual variation, multiple functions - Same area can have multiple function - Small area of activation - Widespread among individuals - Some areas participate more in certain functions - but contradicts proposal that one area has a specific funtcion DOMAIN-SPECIFICOR DOMAIN-GENERAL? • Do we have cognitive processes devoted solely for language? • If not, how do we process language? Domain-specific mechanisms • specialized, evolutionarily-adaptive learning devices • Modularity: mind as a bundle of many special-purpose modules - Overtimewill have specific keys to open specific doors Domain-general mechanisms • combinations of general, basic cognitive processes - Aspects of cognition can arise from combining basic modules - General tools that can be applied to open doors Domain-specific - People have universal grammar - All languages have commonfeatures such as nouns and verbs - Innate knowledge of verbs, subject, object categories - And experience only tells us how to order things to give it meaning - Innate language acquisition device - infants come equipped to develop language ○ Some language processing not likely due to experience - At adulthood it becomesharder to distinguish phonemes that you don't use - Infants don't show this behaviour - they can perceive phonemes - all of them - Reason is as adults you spend more time focusing on phonemes of your language and forget about the others and then can no longer perceive them - Pidgins and creoles ○ Language invention; elaboration of impoverishedcharacteristics ○ Pidgins - grammaticallypoor language - created when people make language on their own = sent to an island and have to live there - so create poor pidgin language to communicate
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