Is Language cognition Contdependent Or Dependent on Neuromuscular Conditions?
Does language cognition have anything to do with neuroscience? One of the most prominent linguists, semantics, and neuro-linguistic programming experts, Neuromuscular Richard Saul Wurman, Ph.D., author of Naming the Brain, raises this question in his recent book, Language and the brain:
How Is Language Related to the Brain?
In this lively book, Dr. Wurman illuminates the relationship between language and brain function.
Specifically, he focuses on how our understanding of language relates to our brain’s neural representation of the world around us.
This is a fascinating look at how language constitutes an incredibly complex system that interacts with our sensory organs, cognitive skills, and emotions.
The human brain has several language systems, including our meaning and intentions. Within each language system, there is a hierarchy of levels of meaning.
Words, phrases, sentences, images, sounds, and thoughts communicate specific information about the world. Each level of language corresponds to an anatomic region of the brain called a cortex. And each of these languages stores information in individual brain cells called neurons.
One way that Dr. Wurman looks at language cognition and the brain is from a neurologic perspective. He believes that we understand language because it gives us access to previously inaccessible parts of the brain.
Language And Neurons Within the Brain
Just as there are several levels of language and neurons within the brain, several brain regions specialize in different types of cognition. Some regions of the brain are particularly adept at processing certain types of communication, while others are better at understanding speech and others are better at understanding pictures and motion.
In addition to having multiple language systems, we also have a neurological representation of the world. We have a visual memory that includes seeing faces, numbers, colors, and other objects; an audio memory includes hearing words or syllables,
A tactile memory includes feeling different body parts like hands, feet, or other things. A cognitive imagination includes thinking about the world around us in terms of spatial relationships. Any of certain sections of the brain has its practice areas of specialized cell populations.
In turn, these specialized brain cells form circuits that enable us to distinguish between normal pictures and a person with a visual impairment, or an audio-verbal impairment and a hearing impairment, or an imagined touch and a natural touch.
Because of the overlap, one can explain language cognition as being a function of the other. For example, a visual memory may be impaired in a patient who has deafness and only partially recovers her hearing ability due to neuro-linguistic programming. This, according to Dr. Wurman, provides the first evidence for the overlap of cognition and neurological processes.
How can we test how much of our thinking and language cognition is neurology-related?
We can’t, of course. However, there are ways to approximate it, such as testing how a word functions in your head and your language suite. For example, you can ask a friend how she might describe a scene in your home by simply saying its essential elements and then asking her what thoughts and feelings you would get if you were in an equal place or saw a similar object.
Another way to approximate the relationship between neurology and language cognition is to perform neuropsychological tests of language cognition and verbal fluency in stroke and deaf patients before and after their recovery from strokes.
Not all patients with stroke recover fully from strokes. However, many do. And, neurology has a role to play in the successful rehabilitation of these patients. Neuropsychological tests may therefore reveal areas of language cognition and verbal fluency that are dependent on neurology.
So, is language cognition influenced by neurology?
It most definitely is not, but the relationship may be indirect. Neurology may impact language cognition in specific individuals while ignoring the rest. For those experiencing language cognition problems due to neurological factors, neurolinguistic programming is the best solution.