Chapter 13.docx

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26 Apr 2012
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Chapter 13 Brain and language
neurolinguistics the study of how language is represented and processed in the brain
13.1 The human brain
- composed of nerve cells or neurons that are the basic information-processing units
o The cerebral cortex
highest level of the brain (most pronounced difference of our species)
grey wrinkled mass that sits like a cap over the rest of the brain
65% of the cortex is hidden within its folds
o The cerebral hemispheres
the folds have two parts:
sulci areas where the cortex folds in
gyri areas where the cortex folds out
longitudinal fissure separates the left and right cerebral hemispheres
corpus callosum bundle of nerve fibres connecting the two hemispheres
each half is responsible for the opposite half of the body contralateral
LEFT = speech; analytic tasks (arithmetic), RIGHT = comprehension; complex
patterns (recognition)
right-handed individuals have language represented in the left cerebral
hemisphere; “left lateralized” for language
o The lobes of the cortex
lobes substructures of the cortex
central sulcus, lateral fissure delineation
frontal lobe, parietal lobe, temporal lobe, occipital lobe
angular gyrus = reading
13.2 Investigating the brain
Autopsy studies
o Compares the area of brain damage and the type of disorder the patient displayed
o Paul Broca (1860) damage (called lesion) to the frontal lobe, inability to speak but
could understand speech Broca’s area = speech production
Broca’s aphasia: impairment of the ability to speak due to brain damage
Wernicke’s area = language comprehension
Images of the living brain
o Computerized axial tomography (CT scanning):
uses a narrow beam of X-rays to create brain images in the form of a
series of brain slices
o Positron emission tomography (PET):
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