Navigation Links
In Conversation, People's Brains Can Mirror Each Other
Date:7/27/2010

By Jenifer Goodwin
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, July 27 (HealthDay News) -- During a conversation, the brain activity of both listener and speaker may look remarkably similar, especially when the two are really understanding each other, a new study finds.

Researchers asked 11 participants to listen to a recording of a woman recounting an amusing, stream-of-consciousness story about being asked to the senior prom when she was a high school freshman.

Brain scans taken by functional MRIs showed the activity in the listeners' brains looked very similar to the brain activity of the woman who was telling the story, a process the researchers call "neural coupling."

"There is much more commonality between the process of producing speech and comprehending speech than one might have thought," said study author Greg Stephens, a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University. "The more coupling there is, the more the speaker and the listener are using similar mechanisms."

Brain scans further showed that in some areas of the brain, "coupling" occurs at the same time the speaker is talking, while in other areas, the coupling lags, Stephens said. Sometimes, brain activity in the listener's brain comes before the activity in the speaker's brain, suggesting the listener may be anticipating what the speaker is going to say.

Such mirror imaging may aid in comprehension, Stephens said. After listening to the story, participants were given a questionnaire measuring how well and how deeply they comprehended the story.

Brain scans of those who scored the best on the comprehension score and seemed to have the most nuanced understanding of the story showed the most complete "neural coupling" with the speaker, possibly hinting at why some people click during conversation and some don't, Stephens said.

"There was a strong correlation between how much of the listener's brain matched the speaker's brain and how well the listener understood the story," Stephens said.

When participants were asked to listen to someone speaking in Russian, a language none of the participants knew, brain scans showed no such "neural coupling."

"If your brain is really similar to mine, I might use my own brain to predict what your brain is doing," Stephens said. "That might be really beneficial for our understanding of each other."

The study is published in this week's online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The finding builds on a prior study by the same team that showed people's brain activity looks alike while watching the same video clips. This new study uses an innovative technical means to see what happens during speech and comprehension, said David Poeppel, a professor of psychology and neural science at New York University.

"The fact that the parts of the brain underlying production and comprehension of language are the same is not surprising," Poeppel said. "This study is a really nice verification of the hypothesis that the organization for language in the brain is very robust and uniform across individuals."

Testing what's going on during an actual conversation would be difficult. Not only is it unpredictable what people are going to say, neural processing of speech takes mere milliseconds, while a functional MRI is a much slower, cruder means of measuring changes in blood flow in the brain, Poeppel said.

Paul Sanberg, a professor of neurosurgery and director of the Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair at the University of South Florida, called the research "interesting."

"This study is potentially very important in understanding how our brain works when we communicate with others, which eventually could lead to future therapies for communication disorders and patients with brain damage," Sanberg said.

More information

The U.S. National Science Foundation has more on how the brain processes language.

SOURCES: Greg Stephens, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow, Princeton University, Princeton, N.J.; David Poeppel, Ph.D., professor, psychology and neural science, New York University, New York City; Paul Sanberg, Ph.D., professor, neurosurgery, and director, Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, University of South Florida, Tampa; July 26-30, 2010, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Canadian research team awarded international grant for work on Indigenous peoples health
2. PeopleStreme Collaborates with SkillSoft for Learning Management Content
3. Pro Athletes Brains React at Olympic Speed
4. iPhone Memory Aid for Scatterbrains, Aging Baby Boomers and Busy, Forgetful People
5. MessageSolution First in the Market to Offer All-in-One, Integrated Cloud-Based Archiving for Email, File Systems and SharePoint at Novell BrainShare 2010
6. Scientists Tweak Subjects Brains to Alter Their Moral Choices
7. SharpBrains Launches First Brain Fitness Innovation Awards to Recognize Neuroplasticity Pioneers
8. Morphine May Protect Brains of People With HIV
9. SKyPRO Releases Public Beta of GWTalk at BrainShare
10. Blood flows differently through the brains of schizophrenic patients
11. Adolescent brains biologically wired to engage in risky behavior, study finds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
In Conversation, People's Brains Can Mirror Each Other
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... 2016 , ... A revolution is underway. Brooklyn-based company, ... for the millions of people who require these medical transport services annually. ... the use of technology. Now, SmartEMS has put forth an industry-changing app that ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... PawPaws brand pet supplements owned by ... to enhance the health of felines. The formula is all-natural and is made from ... the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are Astragalus Root Extract ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... , ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library on ... Observer , brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ability ... fumigation is not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the event that lice ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the Maryland ... iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , The Wellness ... & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was one of ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, was ... his family verbally and physically. , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” ... He would throw rocks at my other children and say he was going to kill ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Capricor Therapeutics, ... a biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development ... patient enrollment in its ongoing randomized HOPE-Duchenne clinical ... 50% of its 24-patient target. Capricor expects the ... quarter of 2016, and to report top line ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... the establishment of Astellas Farma Colombia (AFC), a new affiliate with operations headquartered in Bogota. Colombia ... ... Sandra ... ... Astellas is a pharmaceutical company ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... FRANKLIN, Tenn. , June 23, 2016 ... for automating, integrating and transforming the patient ... launch of several innovative new products and ... depth of its revenue cycle offerings. These ... establish more efficient workflows, remain compliant in ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: