BIDS researchers find similarities in brain activity during listening and reading

August 26, 2019

BIDS Alumni Fatma Deniz is the leader of a UC Berkeley research team in the lab of BIDS Senior Fellow Jack Gallant that has recently published a paper in the Journal of Neuroscience about the relationship between brain representations of information perceived by listening versus reading.

The researchers scanned subjects brains in both the listening and reading conditions, then used statistical modeling to create interactive color-coded maps of brain activity, compared their listening-versus-reading brain activity data, and found the maps they created from both datasets were virtually identical. They were able to predict where different categories of words activate the brain and found that, when similar words were both read and listened to, the same cognitive and emotional parts of the brain were likely to be stimulated.

It is hoped that the study will help shed light on auditory processing disorders, neurodevelopment language-processing disorders, as well as speech disorders — including dyslexia and aphasia — and that the brain maps could have expanded clinical applications that will improve diagnosis, treatment and recovery in those with stroke, epilepsy and other brain injuries. The team anticipates that future mapping of semantic information could include experiments with non-English speakers and people with language-based learning disorders.

Color-coded maps of the brain show the semantic similarities during listening (top) and reading (bottom). (Image by Fatma Deniz)


For more information, visit these related articles:

A map of the brain can tell what you’re reading about
August 19, 2019  |  Yasmin Anwar  | Berkeley News

The representation of semantic information across human cerebral cortex during listening versus reading is invariant to stimulus modality
August 19, 2019  |  Journal of Neuroscience
Fatma Deniz, Anwar O. Nunez-Elizalde, Alexander G. Huth and Jack L. Gallant

Featured Fellows

Fatma Deniz

Neuroscience, ICSI

Jack Gallant

Psychology, UC Berkeley
Faculty Affiliate