How Does Your Brain Decode Garbled Speech?

3/6/2017; 1 minutes

When you're suddenly able to understand someone despite their thick accent, or finally make out the lyrics of a song, your brain appears to be re-tuning to recognize speech that was previously incomprehensible.
University of California, Berkeley, neuroscientists have now observed this re-tuning in action by recording directly from the surface of a person's brain as the words of a previously unintelligible sentence suddenly pop out after the subject is told the meaning of the garbled speech. The re-tuning takes place within a second or less, they found.
The findings will aid Knight and his colleagues in their quest to develop a speech decoder: a device implanted in the brain that would interpret people's imagined speech and help speechless patients, such as those paralyzed by Lou Gehrig's disease, communicate.
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