How does the brain distinguish signals?


The brain's ability to distinguish signals involves complex interactions across multiple neural pathways. For example, when reading, the visual signals from the eyes are sent to the visual cortex at the back of the brain. These signals are then processed in relation to speech through the motor cortex in Broca's area, where silent speech occurs internally. This internal speech is communicated to the auditory pathway to enable auditory perception of the speech. Additionally, the hand areas adjacent to the speech pathway may convert these auditory signals into written visual signals. This process utilizes visual, speech production, speech perception, and auditory pathways, each handling different aspects of signal processing and contributing to the unified perception of reading or writing 1.

Moreover, neurons throughout the body aid in distinguishing types of stimuli through specific responses to certain conditions, such as temperature, pressure, or chemical interactions. These neurons employ a common language of electrical signals but respond distinctly depending on the stimulus. This specificity allows the brain to correctly interpret signals like temperature, touch, and pain, based on the nature of the electrical impulses received 2.

The Neural Circuitry

Erich and Andrew discuss the complexity of the neural circuitry involved in reading and writing, using at least four different brain circuits. They debunk the idea of a separate language module in the brain and explain how the visual, speech production, speech perception, and auditory pathways work together to allow us to read and write.

Huberman Lab

Dr. Erich Jarvis: The Neuroscience of Speech, Language & Music | Huberman Lab Podcast #87