Nav: Home

Understanding brain activity when you name what you see

June 24, 2019

You see an object, you think of its name and then you say it. This apparently simple activity engages a set of brain regions that must interact with each other to produce the behavior quickly and accurately. A report published in eNeuro shows that a reliable sequence of neural interactions occurs in the human brain that corresponds to the visual processing stage, the language state when we think of the name, and finally the articulation state when we say the name. The study reveals that the neural processing does not involve just a sequence of different brain regions, but instead it engages a sequence of changing interactions between those brain regions.

"In this study, we worked with patients with epilepsy whose brain activity was being recorded with electrodes to find where their seizures started. While the electrodes were in place, we showed the patients pictures and asked them to name them while we recorded their brain activity," said co-corresponding author Dr. Xaq Pitkow, assistant professor of neuroscience and McNair Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rice University.

"We then analyzed the data we recorded and derived a new level of understanding of how the brain network comes up with the right word and enables us to say that word," said Dr. Nitin Tandon, professor in the Vivian L. Smith Department of Neurosurgery at McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

The researchers' findings support the view that when a person names a picture, the different behavioral stages - looking at the image, thinking of the name and saying it - consistently correspond to dynamic interactions within neural networks.

"Before our findings, the typical view was that separate brain areas would be activated in sequence," Pitkow said. "But we used more complex statistical methods and fast measurement methods, and found more interesting brain dynamics."

"This methodological advance provides a template by which to assess other complex neural processes, as well as to explain disorders of language production," Tandon said.
-end-
Aram Giahi Saravani of Baylor College of Medicine and Kiefer J. Forseth of UTHealth also are authors of this work.

Financial support for this study was provided by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (R01DC014589), the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (U01NS098981), the National Science Foundation Awards 1533664 and IOS-1552868, and the McNair Foundation.

Baylor College of Medicine

Related Brain Activity Articles:

More brain activity is not always better when it comes to memory and attention
Potential new ways of understanding the cause of cognitive impairments, such as problems with memory and attention, in brain disorders including schizophrenia and Alzheimer's are under the spotlight in a new research review.
Researchers to predict cognitive dissonance according to brain activity
A new study by HSE researchers has uncovered a new brain mechanism that generates cognitive dissonance -- a mental discomfort experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs or values, or experiences difficulties in making decisions.
Brain activity can be used to predict reading success up to 2 years in advance
By measuring brainwaves, it is possible to predict what a child's reading level will be years in advance, according to research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.
There's a close association between magnetic systems and certain states of brain activity
Scientists from the University of Granada (UGR) have proven for the first time that there is a close relationship between several emerging phenomena in magnetic systems (greatly studied by condensed matter physicists) and certain states of brain activity.
Hormone can enhance brain activity associated with love and sex
The hormone kisspeptin can enhance activity in brain regions associated with sexual arousal and romantic love, according to new research.
More Brain Activity News and Brain Activity Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#534 Bacteria are Coming for Your OJ
What makes breakfast, breakfast? Well, according to every movie and TV show we've ever seen, a big glass of orange juice is basically required. But our morning grapefruit might be in danger. Why? Citrus greening, a bacteria carried by a bug, has infected 90% of the citrus groves in Florida. It's coming for your OJ. We'll talk with University of Maryland plant virologist Anne Simon about ways to stop the citrus killer, and with science writer and journalist Maryn McKenna about why throwing antibiotics at the problem is probably not the solution. Related links: A Review of the Citrus Greening...