Talk:Psycholinguistics/Language and the Brain

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Peer Edit of Chapter Draft - Language and the Brain

My first impression of this section was that it looked like a good layout, with essentially all of the major topics covered. I really liked the fact that you included a picture, and I thought the one you used was a good choice. It showed all of the major brain areas and their function, which was very helpful. Since the major areas that you focus on are speech and language, it might be nice to have a more complete picture of these particular areas with the structures that you talk about, but this image does give a good idea of relative size and location in the brain of these general areas.

I liked the descriptions of Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas. I don’t know a lot about the more specific names of brain structures, but as a reader, I was a little confused about what was meant by “area 44, 45 and 22”. Maybe you could elaborate on the importance of these, or else take this part out (I think the description would still be sufficient without it).

I thought the descriptions of the cerebral cortex and corpus callosum were good, and perhaps it might be helpful to expand a little on the idea of the two hemispheres of the brain (often language processing happens mostly in the left hemisphere so you could talk about this, and perhaps tie in some supporting research). In your descriptions of contralateral and ipsilateral processing, you might want to tie in the language aspect to justify including them in your chapter. You mention the motor aspect, but how do these affect language processing or production? It might be beneficial to include a short description of the auditory cortex, to tie in the aspect of hearing language as the first step in processing. In general, I think it would be even more effective to include this section (language localization) right after the section on the “major brain regions” (BEFORE the brain imaging section). I think this would help with the flow of the topics. A quick proof reading for sentence structure and flow will help smooth out this section as well.

Next, I would suggest putting the “Subcortical Structures” section. These descriptions are good, though structures such as the hippocampus and amygdala are pretty crucial and may warrant a sentence or two of their own to explain their importance. Again, it may help to tie the concept of language into this section. You could talk about how the emotion, tone, corresponding body language, or eye and facial expression all affect the way we process and understand language, as well as respond to it.

I would move the brain imaging section to the end, after the descriptions of the different structures. Now that we know what the important areas are, we can better understand their importance when you talk about the different ways of observing them. This section is good, and I think you’ve included all of the major techniques. A suggestion (and only a suggestion) would be that you might be able to make the section look a little more neat and tidy if you put the title at the start of the description instead of on separate lines since the descriptions are short anyway. So you would have: “CAT - Computed Axial Tomography, (CAT), is a method of brain imaging…” This might make it less choppy and broken up, but I think the way you have things could work as well.

I think it might be nice to have a little section at the end about the abnormal brain as it pertains to language. I know there is already a section on aphasias, but if someone were to read ONLY your chapter, it would definitely add to the completeness of the chapter since “language and the brain” is a pretty broad topic. You should include a brief overview of these things, and people can read the specific chapters to read about these in more detail. Aphasias, sign language, Braille, and dyslexia could be included in this section. Perhaps just to very briefly mention what these are, and what brain changes cause these abnormalities, as well as how the brain adapts to overcome them. It would be a nice ending to the chapter.

Overall, I would just suggest that you add in-text citations, so we can see which sources each bit of information came from. Also, when you are finalizing your chapter it is good to alphabetize your sources to make things easier to find. Finally, it might be good to add a sentence or two at the start of each section just to introduce what you will talk about before you start in with each of the sub-headings. I would also separate the concluding paragraph from your final section so it is easier to distinguish as being separate from the section itself.

Very interesting topic and chapter so far! I am looking forward to seeing the final version and what you will choose for your learning exercise. Keep up the great work!

--Cbrousseau 22:26, 27 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]