Where We Think

Brain Dictionary. Where exactly are the words in your head? Scientists have created an interactive map showing which brain areas respond to hearing different words.

The map reveals how language is spread throughout the cortex and across both hemispheres, showing groups of words clustered together by meaning.

YOUTUBE k61nJkx5aDQ Published on Apr 27, 2016. Nature Video. youtube

Natural speech reveals the semantic maps that tile human cerebral cortex. Alexander G. Huth, et. al. nature

The meaning of language is represented in regions of the cerebral cortex collectively known as the ‘semantic system’. However, little of the semantic system has been mapped comprehensively, and the semantic selectivity of most regions is unknown.

The beautiful interactive model allows us to explore the complex organisation of the enormous dictionaries in our heads. site

Here we systematically map semantic selectivity across the cortex using voxel-wise modelling of functional MRI (fMRI) data collected while subjects listened to hours of narrative stories.

We show that the semantic system is organized into intricate patterns that seem to be consistent across individuals. We then use a novel generative model to create a detailed semantic atlas.

Our results suggest that most areas within the semantic system represent information about specific semantic domains, or groups of related concepts, and our atlas shows which domains are represented in each area.


Stories were from The Moth, true stories told live. site

Moth stories are told, not read. We love how the storyteller connects with the audience when there is no page between them. Have a stake. What do you stand to gain or lose? Why is what happens in the story important to you?

Have a great first line that sets up the stakes and grabs attention. “The mountain loomed before me. I had my hunting knife, some trail mix and snow boots. ...”

Make an outline, memorize your bullet points and play with the details. Enjoy yourself. Imagine you are at a dinner party, not a deposition.