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Study Unlocks The Human Brain’s Prespeech Planning Mechanism



Study Unlocks The Human Brain's Prespeech Planning Mechanism

The human brain is a complicated organ that governs speech, memory, and mental processes. US researchers have discovered pauses in speech that reveal the brain’s planning process prior to speaking.

The NYU Grossman School of Medicine team examined brain mapping recordings of sixteen patients receiving epilepsy surgery.

The findings demonstrated the importance of two areas in the cerebral cortex, or folded top layers of the brain, for preliminarily preparing speech, namely the motor cortex and the inferior frontal gyrus.

It was previously understood that certain brain regions were in charge of the motor (muscular) movements of the lips and throat required for speech production. According to the team, it was unclear if these areas also regulate “the mix of sounds and words people want to say aloud” in the paper that was posted online in the journal Brain.

“Our study adds evidence for the role of the brain’s motor cortex and inferior frontal gyrus in planning speech and determining what people are preparing to say, not just voicing words using the vocal cords or mouthing the words by moving the tongue and lips,” said lead investigator Heather Kabakoff, a speech pathologist at NYU Langone.

Overall, the results also support the notion that speech planning and motor execution take place in somewhat independent brain regions. The scientists pointed out that even though additional research is required, the discovery might aid in “surgeons better refining their brain mapping to protect patients’ speech.”


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