The research, published today by the journalScience, shows that Broca’s area performs thethree fundamental language tasks: identifies thewords, choose thegrammatical formscorrect and organize thesoundsnecessary to express them. Furthermore, the study reveals that the human brain requiresless than half a secondto perform the three functions.
To reach this conclusion, the researchers explored the brain activity of threeepileptic individualspreparing to undergo a surgical operation. The analysis was performed by placing electrodes in all brain areas, especially in Broca’s area. When the activity began to register, the researchers asked the patients to repeat words, change their gender or number, and conjugate different verb tenses. The electrodes recorded patterns of neural activity that indicated lexical and grammatical processes at a speed of between 200 and 450 milliseconds, once the word was known.
The results allow to establish theperiod of understanding, choosing and vocalizing wordsby our brain insix tenths of a second.