Are Brain Circuits Responsible for Learning Human Language?
Learning a language has often been attributed to certain areas of the brain that facilitate the grasping of new skills as we grow. A recent study presents strong evidence to suggest that language is, in fact, an outcome of the brain system circuit.
The recent study provides a valuable insight, taking into consideration multiple studies spanning a total of 655 participants. The results highlight children’s ability to learn languages as they evolve which could be attributed to them remembering simple tasks such as remembering a grocery list to something as complex as learning to drive.
Michael T. Ullman says, “Our conclusions lead us to understand that language is a part of general-purpose systems which contradicts the existing theory of language being largely dependent on modules that are designed to fit the human culture.” Prof. Ullman, the senior author of the study, heads the department of neuroscience at Georgetown University.
Phillip Hamrick, coauthor of the study says, “Brain circuits exist in animals too. For instance, young mice need proper functioning brain circuits to learn how to navigate a maze successfully.”
Prof. Hamrick continues, “The underlying systems undergo necessary changes as time passes to support and overcome any language barriers and they play an important role in redefining humans’ ability.”
The study has outlined critical implications that are not only important in understanding our underlying biology, but also equally important in observing how language barriers can be improved for people with autism and dyslexia.
Grammatical ability plays a great role in allowing one to combine words into neat sentences as per the rules that govern the use of the language. Further, these abilities can help children acquire their native language skills which could be correlated with learning in the procedural memory.
Researchers say these skills are important in helping one learn necessary tasks such as riding a bicycle or maneuvering a car. These important details present a thorough understanding as to why even adults struggle when it comes to learning something new, for instance, a foreign language.
Prof. Ullman says, “We still have a long way to go in understanding biological and genetic bases when it comes to something such as decoding language learning skills. New findings will lead to further advancement in these areas.”
“Our study results point to a larger role of genetics and other underlying mechanisms when it comes to language learning,” explains Prof. Ullman.
These findings will help researchers to study genes that play a role similar to language learning ones. For instance, behavioral strategies and pharmacological agents are known to enhance retention or learning abilities of the brain systems. These approaches can be used to facilitate necessary assistance when it comes to helping individuals with known history of aphasia, autism, and dyslexia.
Prof. Ullman concludes, “We sincerely hope and strongly believe this study will help in providing necessary advancements to understanding language barriers and provide a strategy as to how things can be improved.”