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From gestures to speech

When we speak or listen, our brain has a lot to do. It has to process the linguistic signals. Gestures and symbols are linguistic signals too. They existed even before human speech. Some symbols are understood in all cultures. Others have to be learned. They can't be understood just by looking at them. Gestures and symbols are processed like speech. And they are processed in the same area of the brain! A new study has proven this. Researchers tested several test subjects. These test subjects had to view various video clips. While they were watching the clips, their brain activity was measured. In one group, the clips expressed various things. These occurred through movements, symbols and speech. The other test group watched different video clips. These videos were nonsense clips. Speech, gestures and symbols didn't exist. They had no meaning. In the measurements, the researchers saw what was processed where. They could compare the brain activity of the test subjects. Everything that had meaning was analyzed in the same area. The results of this experiment are very interesting. They show how our brain has learned language over time. At first, man communicated with gestures. Later he developed a language. The brain had to learn, therefore, to process speech like gestures. And evidently it simply updated the old version …

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