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Scientists Map the Atlas of Words in Our Brain


A team of neuroscientists at University of California, Berkeley, has mapped where the words are stored in our brain. Words activate, or “light up” in an MRI scan, different parts of the brain according to meaning, says the study published in Nature. More than one part can get activated simultaneously, with words that have more than one meaning. The word “top,” for example, lit up regions associated with clothing, but also those linked to scales and measurements. In other words, the outer layer of the brain that processes words is divided in tiny regions that handle concepts, rather than specific terms: weight, color, shape, quantity, etc. The study’s sample is small but the results are consistent. Two popular myths have been debunked: it is not only the left hemisphere of the brain that handles language; its entirety does. And the brain does not have localized regions that handle specific tasks. It is an integrated network that interprets life, and articulates our responses to it.

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