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What bombshell? It's totally possible for a language to dump a feature it no longer needs. That's nothing new.
by lychee on Sun Jul 8th, 2007 at 12:41:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That was my point...

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Sun Jul 8th, 2007 at 04:20:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Then I'm not quite sure I understand your post. You have the section from my post about the language dumping a feature it no longer needs, and then you have "I would consider this a bombshell if...." Is "this" referring to the idea of losing an unneeded feature? If not, what are you referring to when you say "this"?

(My post sounds kind of snippy, but it's not meant to be-- I'm honestly trying to clear up what I'm not understanding. Really.)

by lychee on Mon Jul 9th, 2007 at 01:47:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When I said bombshell I meant the way in which I think kcurie was taking it - I think he believes this shoots serious holes through the universal language theory, whereas I'm pretty sure it does no such thing, and only would if the researchers had found novel language usage structures in the people they were studying that had never been seen before.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Jul 9th, 2007 at 03:25:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not sure the brain works that way. If we look at the development of the visual cortex in humans and cats.. it is more like.. I would be ready hipotetically to do this.. if it doe snot happen.. I am also hypothetically ready to this and this and this...

And if those three or four five things do not happen.. ok I will mind my busniess doing other things.. but then do not expect any relevant input on this or that function..

SO language could be similar.. but more disperse and networked that the primary visual cortex...I can do a lot of stuff.. you culture pick up.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon Jul 9th, 2007 at 12:55:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Spoken language processing occurs in two distinct areas of the dominant hemisphere.  

Broca's Area is associated with the motor cortex.  Dysfunction in this area produces difficulty in enunciating words and sentence production.  Reading and comprehension do not seem to be affected.

Wernicke's Area is associated with the sensory cortex.  Dysfunction produces garbled, profuse, inaccurate, rapid, and incomprehensible speech.  Patients can talk fluently, what they say makes no sense.  

What this suggests is Language Processing, in toto, is an Emergent Phenomena absolutely requiring a basis in the brain's neurology ('hardware') but also ancillary higher-order psycho-cultural ('software') structures.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Jul 9th, 2007 at 01:33:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(You're such a smartass.)  How does "Emergent Property" not equal "LO!  A Miracle?

"Emergent Property" is an ontological descriptive term of an observable end-result of a process requiring necessary observable or definable initial conditions AND observable or definable necessary praxiological operations on those conditions.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Jul 9th, 2007 at 02:09:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More complex than that even.

This two areas you describe are ver well known and do indeed perform certainly clear fucntions in language

But language processing , from writing to devleopment of sentences includes vast areas of the cortex not realted with those two.

Broca andd Wernicke are some kind of focal points  for the movement of the mouths/language physcial apparatus and for audotory input.

They are the most external parts of speech processing... something like the primary and final points of the process... Generally, the brain has very specific target areas before proceeding (or the first point of reception from external areas) to project activity to non-brain areas... moto cortex, visual priamry cortex and so on...

So, the ability to speak and process auditory cues comes from the ability of certain parts of the brain to do their primary fucntions by training. If you do not train those areas, they just mind their own business... and still it is only the surface of language processing since it is the part related with output-movement and input-auditory (people do nto know that but a fundamental part of speech is to understand auditory cues, this is why two areas are needed to link the external apparatus with the more complex language processing). But this is only the surface of the processing.. in the same sense the primary visual cortex is only the first stage of visual pattern recognition.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon Jul 9th, 2007 at 02:15:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly why I limited my post to Spoken Language.

It is my understanding _f_MRI has disproved the old reductionist axiom of a specific location for a specific process.  Instead there is a heirarchy of processing where specific areas, such as Broca's, are dedicated to doing the predominate amount of the work while relying or shunting various 'subsidary' tasks to other neuological features, areas.  Some of these latter are 'specialists' and some are 'generalists.'

(As always, correction requested.)

A pleasure, indeed.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Jul 9th, 2007 at 02:33:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are right indeed.. it is more like a network of points requiring more energy at certain points ...
but some very specific areas deeicated to gather the information and produced an specific output (ot input in the case of the auditory cortex or the priamry visual cortex).

It seems that the most perpherial parts of the brain must be hihgly trained at the first stages of development.. and then proceed to get fairly fixed activity. Those areas can be studied in great detail..and the effects of the environment on this areas (learning) can be studied by doing experiments.

Since these specific areas have a high plasticity and highly depend on external input we just guess that the other parts that we see light-up in the fMRI are like mega-complex network of subunits workign hierarchialy and much more plastic than those peripherial areas.

It is really as amazing as you indicate... and more :)

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon Jul 9th, 2007 at 03:55:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe this is why some people, blind from birth, still cannot see (as normal seeing people do) when their ability to "see" (with the eye) is technically restored. The part of the brain that processes visual stimuli must be trained to do so from birth or it loses the ability to really "see."  The up side of blindness is that this part of the brain usually becomes devoted to doing something else better.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Mon Jul 9th, 2007 at 11:14:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And then there are the 'polarized' kittens!
Kittens with access to only vertical (or horizontal) stimuli during their early life will be incapable of seeing lines of the other orientation later in life. Lots of hits refering to these results without actual references to the original research... But here is an original source, that seems to confirm the effect as more than an urban legend: http://www.brain.riken.jp/bsi-news/bsinews29/no29/research2e.html
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Tue Jul 10th, 2007 at 06:20:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I knew this experiemtns.. Actually they are much more complex. for example.. if the cat is raised over the gorund and it is not allowed to touch the floor while watching.. no matter that he is able to detect horizontal and vertical lines.. he would not be able to walk.. becasue he cann ot coordiante visionand movement.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Jul 10th, 2007 at 07:33:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about the experiments in which an adult wears "inverting" glasses and the brain (reversibly) adjusts after a few days of headaches?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 10th, 2007 at 07:40:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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