Researchers decode neural signals of inner language

A research team from the University and the University Hospital of Geneva has deciphered which brainwaves contain essential information for deciphering the inner monologues. The results were published in the specialist magazine Nature Communications.

The scientists believe that the deciphering of the “inner language”, i.e. the imaginary words and sentences, with the help of measurements of neural activity represents a very promising hope.

Because brain injuries and diseases of the nerve cells can, in the worst case, result in those affected no longer being able to communicate. The ability to imagine words and sentences is at least partially retained, as the University of Geneva announced on Wednesday. However: Compared to those of spoken language, these neural signals are difficult for algorithms to decode because they are weaker and more variable.

Measurement of brain activity

For the study, the team collected data from 13 epilepsy patients who had electrodes implanted directly in their brains. “We asked patients to say words and then introduce themselves,” said Geneva neurology professor Anne-Lise Giraud. In the meantime, the brain activity was recorded in great detail.

The researchers succeeded in demonstrating that the low-frequency brain activity and the coupling of beta and gamma waves in particular obviously contain important information for deciphering the internal monologues. In addition, it was shown that a certain brain region, the temporal cortex, plays an important role in imaginary articulation.

Although the researchers have taken an important step with the study, they are still a long way from actually deciphering inner language, they admit.

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