A recent post in Wired Science discusses the surprising findings of a study conducted by researchers in San Diego and Boston that used brain-reading technology to precisely measure the electrical activity in the brains of epileptics who are not responding to treatment. Data from the study has provided a unique view into how the brain processes language, showing that Broca’s Center–the area of the brain responsible for language–handles multiple tasks at once, rather than just one (as was previously believed).
Typically, scientists studying language have used fMRI studies, which can highlight regions of the brain where activity is occurring, but not detail what’s happening in them. However, this research used intra-cranial electrophysiology, in which electrodes are implanted in the brain itself. Though, as Wired points out, this type of brain-reading technology is “far too invasive and risky to ever be used for academic research,” the authors of the study are hoping to study other language processes in the hopes that the findings will be applied to treating language disorders.