Brain activation remains same while reading different languages

New York, Nov 4 (IANS) Neural activation patterns in the brain remain same when we read different languages like English or Portuguese, finds a study.

“This tells us that, for the most part, the language we happen to learn to speak does not change the organisation of the brain,” said Marcel Just, Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, in the US, in the study published in the journal NeuroImage.

“Semantic information is represented in the same place in the brain and the same pattern of intensities for everyone. Knowing this means that brain-to-brain or brain-to-computer interface can probably be the same for speakers of all languages,” Just added.

For the study, 15 native Portuguese speakers — eight were bilingual in Portuguese and English — read 60 sentences in Portuguese while in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner.

The university developed computational model was able to predict which sentences the participants were reading in Portuguese, based only on activation patterns.

The resulting brain images showed that the activation patterns for the 60 sentences were in the same brain locations and at similar intensity levels for both English and Portuguese sentences.

Additionally, the results revealed the activation patterns could be grouped into four semantic categories, depending on the sentence’s focus: people, places, actions and feelings.

“The cross-language prediction model demonstrated a meta-language prediction capability from neural signals across people, languages and bilingual status,” said Ying Yang, researcher at the Carnegie Mellon University.

–IANS

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