[Source: Science Daily]
For the first time scientists have identified how a pathway in the brain which is unique to humans allows us to learn new words.
The average adult’s vocabulary consists of about 30,000 words. This ability seems unique to humans as even the species closest to us — chimps — manage to learn no more than 100.
It has long been believed that language learning depends on the integration of hearing and repeating words but the neural mechanisms behind learning new words remained unclear. Previous studies have shown that this may be related to a pathway in the brain only found in humans and that humans can learn only words that they can articulate.
Now researchers from King’s College London Institute of Psychiatry, in collaboration with Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) and the University of Barcelona, have mapped the neural pathways involved in word learning among humans. They found that the arcuate fasciculus, a collection of nerve fibres connecting auditory regions at the