Semantic atlas opens door to decoding what you want to say

Posted by April 27, 2016 | News | No Comments

In their paper in Nature, Frederic TheunissenJack Gallant and co-authors describe a data-driven approach to map language representation across the human cortex. Using fMRI to monitor brain activity during language processing, they were able to identify regions of the cortex that specifically respond to a set of related words, such as words representing numeric concepts, or emotional concepts. The resulting semantic map could eventually be used to decode what someone wants to say, giving a “voice to those who cannot speak, such as victims of stroke or brain damage, or motor neuron diseases such as ALS.” Read the full story in Berkeley News and the research article in Nature.

>> Read the full story by Yasmin Anwar in Berkeley News (includes video)

>> Read the research article in Nature, coming out April 28th, 2016. “Natural speech reveals the semantic maps that tile human cerebral cortex,” by Alexander G. Huth, Wendy A. de Heer, Thomas L. Griffiths, Frédéric E. Theunissen*, and Jack L. Gallant


Selected media coverage


Words On The Brain: A Semantic Map of the Cortex
Discover Magazine | Neuroskeptic

The Human Brain as a Word Cloud, on a Shared Drive
Wall Street Journal | Robert Lee Hotz

This Is Your Brain on Podcasts
New York Times | Benedict Carey

How the ‘Moth Radio Hour’ helped scientists map out meaning in the brain
Los Angeles Times | Amina Khan

New brain research offers hope for those who have lost speech
SF Gate | David Perlman