Wow… Your brain on stories.. Pretty cool science!


What Happens To Your Brain When It Hears A Story

Forget the Mariana Trench. The deepest unexplored geographies on the planet are trapped right inside our skulls

The human brain is a mysterious hunk of meat. For example, as you read this, you’re “hearing” the words in your brain, and sorting out their meaning, but where exactly are these gray matter word lockers? Wonder no longer. This interactive brain map from scientists at the University of California, Berkeley allows you to see exactly where the words are stored in the furrows of your cerebellum.

To create the map, the team scanned the brains of seven different volunteers, who were asked to listen to a two-hour chunk of The Moth Radio Hour, a popular storytelling podcast. As the volunteers listened, the team was able to see exactly where and when the oxygen levels in their brains changed, which let them map certain words onto certain parts of the brain.

What the team discovered was that they could actually map 12 different categories of words to different areas of the brain. In general, there are more parts of the brain dedicated to processing words related to visual stimulus, violence, time, place, and the human body, which from both an evolutionary and grammatical perspective makes sense. There are fewer parts of the brain that light up when you talk about numbers, the indoors, or other people, however. (It’s interesting to wonder if the brains of mathematicians have different semantic brain maps than mountain climbers, but sadly, Berkley’s research doesn’t cover that.)

The map lets you explore which words map to which brain folds, just by clicking on them. What’s interesting is that on a furrow-by-furrow basis, these areas don’t necessarily group together—but even so, there are larger continents of the brain that tend to be, say, more visual than violent, or more social than tactile. Depending on how you view the interactive map, the brain either looks like an irregular, candy-colored globe of rigorously defined semantic meaning, or a chaotic, technicolor yarn ball of feelings and impressions.

Although the sample size was small, the researchers of this brain map think that this technique could help other scientists understand what’s going on within the minds of patients with Alzheimer’s. In their published report, they also suggest it could be used to communicate with people who can’t speak or sign, effectively “reading” their minds.


Published by: Kawanee Hamilton

Kawanee was born in Alexandria Louisiana but her first real memories are of Russellville Arkansas. She's always loved to read, and has always had an vivid imagination. She grew up in a house where almost everyone read, they didn't need a TV although she could still be found planted on her butt in front of her grandma's TV watching cartoons on Saturday mornings. She made up her first story with her mother when her cat died; it was about where pets go when they die. She continued to create stories from bad dreams she had and her dad would help her change nightmares to stories. They would sit up in a chair until the scary went away. He told her that: "Dreams, good or bad, are just stories your mind makes up. You are the author of your dreams; if you don't like them rewrite them. " She was hooked and has continued to read and write stories drawing from dreams, sights and just pure imagination. She just recently decided she'd like to try and get published and fail than wonder what if. Her story continues but where it goes from here is up to you, the Reader... She hopes you'll join her in finding out where her journey goes from here!

Categories authors, readers1 Comment

One thought on “Wow… Your brain on stories.. Pretty cool science!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s