Tue. Apr 23rd, 2019

Brain waves are synchronized when we speak languages

Brain waves are synchronized when we speak languages


A study developed in Canada by Cuban scientist Alejandro Pérez has shown that brain waves of the people who dialogue are synchronized differently when they converse in their mother tongue or in a foreign language.

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Research by Professor Perez, from the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto, has found that although brain waves are synchronized, when the conversation is kept in a foreign language, the areas of the brain that are activated are different than when it is the mother tongue.

Speaking to Efe, Perez said that after first studying the synchronicity between two people who have the same mother tongue, the new study, published in the latest edition of the medical journal "Cortex," tried to determine "if that synchronicity occurs differently when it is a native or foreign language ».

"We did not get into the question if they are two languages ​​that you master perfectly because surely there the synchronization between brains is probably the same. And indeed, what we find is that you synchronize in a different way if you use a native language or a foreign language, "he explained.

To carry out the study, Pérez and his team from the Center for French and Linguistics of the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto recorded the brain activity of 60 individuals using electroencephalography while they were having conversations.

For the 60 individuals, the mother tongue was Spanish.

Half of the conversations were held in Spanish and the other half in English.

And although in both cases the brain waves of the participants in the study were synchronized, when the individuals conversed in English, the activations occurred in different areas of the study, said the Cuban researcher.

The reasons for these differences have yet to be explained, but Pérez pointed out that one reason may be that when speaking a foreign language the mental capacity to represent words is more difficult to achieve, which would force the brain to activate different parts.

«There are still many unknowns, many things to solve. It is a first approximation. The difference in this case occurs because the areas that are being synchronized are different, "he explained.

But what is proven with the study is that "the language used influenced the alignment of brain waves between those who kept the conversation and this suggests that effective communication could be based on this neural coupling between brains," Perez added.

In practical terms, the Cuban researcher, who previously worked at the Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language (BCBL), in San Sebastián (Spain), pointed out that "whenever in the field of neuroscience one describes a phenomenon of synchronization, the interpretation in a general way is of an interrelation, of a communication between the parties ».

Perez said that science has described these synchronies between people in breathing, heartbeat and even menstrual cycles of women.

The researcher explained that the synchronization "clearly it has evolutionary advances because any collaborative process gives you evolutionary advantages in the sense of adaptation to the environment ».

Among the practical applications that could be derived from what Professor Pérez and his team discovered would be the ability to "quantify the quality of the conversation" that two people have or if the two parties really understood each other.

Pérez also pointed out that the coupling between speech and brain waves of the speaker and listener could be the key for robotic speech to be indistinct to the human. EFE

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