Friday, August 29, 2008

Language and The Brain

Quick thought:

Almost all studies of the sort show that more than 95% of right-handed people house their language center in the left hemisphere of the brain (the more logical side of the brain), where less than 5% have right hemisphere language centers (the more creative side).

Oddly, in left-handed people, over 70% still have left hemisphere language centers. Leaving about 30% of left-handed people with their "language part of the brain" on the more creative side - but not the majority of left-handed people still.

It would be interesting (if it were possible) to see how much this affects how this affects the content (or even style) of those who have language centers on the logical side of the brain to those who have it on the creative side.

Of course, the brain is a network. But the reason we are right or left handed in the first place is mostly determined by whether we use the right or left brain more abundantly. Many of the greatest artists in history (Da Vinci, etc.) were left-handed. How would this hold up with poets? With lawyers? With linguists?

Unfortunately, they usually cannot check which hemisphere the language center resides in until a person is dead or some other severe case. But it's interesting (to me) nonetheless. Why are so many right-handed people left hemisphere language people, and why are the majority of left-handed people also left-hemisphere language people - thought not quite as much?


Scott Abbott said...

The book I've been reading (The First Word) argues that the brain is very "plastic," that for people whose "language center" is destroyed, other areas of the brain pick up the function.

Evolutionary Adaption of Revolutionary Adaptation said...

It's true. They used to think that a specific part of the brain accounted for a specific function, but they now realize that probably EVERYTHING in the brain is a network between thousands (or millions or billions) of connections.

The "Rain Man" guy was born with no Corpus Callosum (no connection between hemispheres) and his brain was still able to relate information between the two halves.

The odd thing to me is that 90% of people have their language center in the left hemisphere, as opposed to it (the actual "center") being in both hemispheres. It seems as though there would be a specific reason for this.