The brain dictionary

3 minutes

See how our brains group words by meaning in surprisingly complex semantic maps

A groundbreaking new study from the Gallant Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley is transforming how scientists understand language organisation in the brain. Published in Nature on 28 April 2016, the paper ‘Natural Speech Reveals the Semantic Maps That Tile Human Cerebral Cortex’ reveals that we use our entire brain – and not just the temporal lobe, as once believed – to group words by meaning. And while every ‘brain dictionary’ appears to be unique, they share some surprising similarities. To learn more about the research, explore the interactive map based on the study at the Gallant Laboratory’s website.

Video by Nature

Animator: Alexander Huth

Get Aeon straight
to your inbox
Join our newsletter Sign up
Follow us on
Facebook
Like
Essay/
Social Psychology
In extremis

As Hannah Arendt argued, there is one common thread which connects individuals drawn to all kinds of extremist ideologies

Nabeelah Jaffer

Essay/
Love & Friendship
Love your frenemy

Envy is the dark side of love, but love is the luminous side of envy. Is there a way to harness envy wisely, for growth?

Sara Protasi