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Words, Gestures Are Translated by Same Brain Regions, Says New Research

Findings May Further Our Understanding of How Language Evolved

In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, NIDCD researchers in collaboration with scientists from Hofstra University School of Medicine, Hempstead, N.Y., and San Diego State University have shown that the brain regions that have long been recognized as a center in which spoken or written words are decoded are also important in interpreting wordless gestures. These regions include the inferior frontal gyrus, or Broca’s area, in the front left side of the brain, and the posterior temporal region, commonly referred to as Wernicke’s area, toward the back left side of the brain. The findings suggest that these brain regions may play a much broader role in the interpretation of symbols than researchers have thought and, for this reason, could be the evolutionary starting point from which language originated. Read more on the NIDCD Web site.

Last Updated Date: 
June 7, 2010