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CHAPTER 9. Hearing and Language Language. Language. not limited to speech includes the generation and understanding of Written Spoken gestural communication. Is this just a human behavior? Expressive vs. receptive language: Expressive: spoken, written produced language Receptive: .

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chapter 9


Hearing and Language


  • not limited to speech
  • includes the generation and understanding of
    • Written
    • Spoken
    • gestural communication.
  • Is this just a human behavior?
  • Expressivevs.receptive language:
    • Expressive: spoken, written produced language
    • Receptive:
language aphasias
Language aphasias
  • Aphasia:
    • In 1861: French physician Paul Broca first reported aphasia –
    • language impairment caused by damage to brain
    • results from damage to the frontal area anterior to the motor cortex, now known as Broca’s area.
  • Broca’s aphasia:
    • language impairment caused by damage to Broca’s area and surrounding cortical and subcortical areas.
    • It is also referred to as expressiveaphasia.
receptive language
Receptive Language
  • Nine years later: German doctor: Carl Wernicke identified a second critical language site: Wernicke’s area
    • damage produced a different form of aphasia- more with “understanding”
    • located in the posterior portion of the left temporal lobe, now known as Wernicke’s area.
  • Wernicke’s aphasia:
    • the person has difficulty understanding and producing spoken and written language.
    • Often called receptive aphasia
    • term is misleading: Same problems with understanding language also show up when producing it.
    • If can’t understand, then can’t produce!
dyslexia alexia and agraphia
Dyslexia, Alexia and Agraphia:
  • Alexia: inability to read.
  • Agraphia: inability to write.
    • Presumably due to disruption of pathways in the angular gyrus
    • Connect visual projection area with auditory and visual association areas
    • Critical areas in temporal and parietal lobes.
    • Results in inability to integrate two activities
dyslexia alexia and agraphia1
Dyslexia, Alexia and Agraphia:
  • Dyslexia: learning disorder
    • impairment of reading
    • Dysgraphia: difficulty in writing
    • Dyscalculia: disability with arithmetic.
    • Dyslexia can be acquired, but it is more often developmental.
  • In most people the planumtemporale, where Wernicke’s area is located, is larger in the left than in the right.
    • However, in dyslexics, it is more frequently equal in size or larger on the right.
  • Also: may be due to problems inbasal ganglia and cerebellum
    • Problem with inhibiting inappropriate behaviors while engaging in academic behavior
    • Can’t walk and chew gum and read at same time!
how diagnosis language disorders
How Diagnosis Language Disorders?
  • Rasmussen and Milner (1977) used Wada technique
    • involves anesthetizing one hemisphere at a time by injecting a drug into each carotid artery;
    • when the injection is into the language-dominant hemisphere, language is impaired.
    • Risky to say the least!
  • Also used electrical stimulation
  • Determined location of language control in patients before removing lesioned tissue that was causing epileptic seizures.
right hemisphere and language
Right Hemisphere and Language
  • The right hemisphere:
    • Important in understanding information from language that NOT specifically communicated by word meaning
  • Critical for determing information when meaning must be inferred from entire discourse
    • when the meaning is figurative rather than literal.
    • Think of idioms; sarcasm, intonation and inflection
    • Very difficult: must compare words to tone
    • Often lacking in autism spectrum individuals
right hemisphere and language1
Right Hemisphere and Language
  • Prosody: important right hemisphere language function!
    • use of intonation, emphasis and rhythm to convey meaning in speech.
  • Most obvious right-hemisphere role in language
    • Often show difficulty after a stroke or with disorders such as autism
  • Brain shows incredible plasticity
    • Right hemisphere can take over language functions following left-hemisphere damage and vice versa
  • Recovery good as long as the injury occurs early in life
    • Good results below age 6; okay results pre-puberty
    • Much more problematic in adults.
why language
Why Language?
  • Darwin:
    • suggested we have an instinctive tendency to speak
    • What mean?
      • infants seem very ready to engage in language
      • Language learning is innate
      • learn with minimal instruction.
  • Noam Chomsky (1980) and later Steven Pinker (1994):
    • interpreted children’s readiness to learn language as evidence of a language acquisition device
    • part of the brain hypothesized to be dedicated to learning and controlling language.
  • Is nurture not important?
    • Not all researchers agree with innate language theory
    • E.g., Skinner
    • Most accept that there are biological reasons why language acquisition is so easy.
  • Why ease of children’s language acquisition?
    • due to a brain-based sensitivity to rhythmic language patterns
    • Sensitivity does not depend of the form of language.
    • Whatever language you are exposed to, your brain becomes “tuned” to
    • Think about in terms of cochlear implants!
imitation and language
Imitation and Language
  • Researchers believe that the ability to imitate gestures was critical to the development of language in humans.
    • Recent evidence: infants who point/gesture learn language faster
    • Baby sign
  • Some language theorists may have identified mechanism for the imitative development of language:
    • mirror neurons
    • respond both when engage in specific acts and while observing the same act in others.
    • Critical for matching your behavior to behavior of others
animal language
Animal Language
  • Why study Animal language:
    • intrigues us: We want to know whether we have any company “at the top,”
    • trace the evolutionary roots of language.
  • The rationale behind animal language research:
    • any behavior or brain mechanism we share with genetically related animals must have originated in those common ancestors.
    • Evidence of language in other animals?
  • Many animals studied:
    • dolphins, elephants, whales, and gorillas
    • major contender for a co-possessor of language has been the chimpanzee because is closest genetically
    • That not necessarily best organism , however,.
alternative approach to language
Alternative Approach to Language
  • Examine animal language from their point of view
  • See if can determine syntax, semantics from recordings of ongoing language
  • Good evidence for language in several animals
    • Tamarins
    • Sea mammals
    • Elephants
  • Can determine whether other animals share brain organization associated with human language.
  • But remember: Presence of similar brain structures in other animals does not mean that they use those structures for language.
    • Correlation does not equal Causation
    • Must proceed with caution
studying animal language
Studying Animal LanguaGe
  • Viki:
    • Early study attempted to teach the home-reared chimpanzee Viki to talk
    • After six years she learned only “mama,” “papa,” and “cup.”
    • Later researchers concluded that chimpanzees lack the larynx for forming word sounds
  • Noted tendency of chimps and gorillas to communicate with a number of gestures, tried teaching American Sign Language.
    • Over a four-year period the chimpanzee Washoe learned to use 132 signs
      • Taught infant to sign: Loulis learned 47 signs
      • Learned somewhat complex strings= 4 year old child.
    • Koko the gorilla also signs and shows signs of prosody