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September 10th, 2008
Spark Blog: How Does Your Brain React to Gibberish?

Check out this clip of “Pingu,” modified by the scientists in Oregon to include strange grammatical constructions. They want to see how brains react to mistakes in grammar, even when the listener isn’t fluent in the language being spoken!

When Alan volunteered to wear the EEG cap a while back, this is what he watched.

Courtesy Brain Development Lab, Univeristy of Oregon

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  • scott Munro

    if this is what scientist call important scientific study they should go back to college what a load of bollocks

  • guynoir

    Scott, you’re missing something. The scientists don’t ask whether the observer thinks there is a grammatical error, they observe brain activity. They found that even very little kids have grammar rules mapped into their brains. Some people think it’s worth knowing how early in development we acquire stuff like this.

  • Darla N. Denham

    I watched the video and It’s hard for me to figure some of the phrases out if my eyes are not on the video, but I can guess what the proper words are because I spell out the giberish words that the man is narating in my head and I’m able to desipher what exactly is going on in the flic. This is a very interesting experiment.

  • Ludmila

    To Scott the point of the experiment is gibberish. And Scott is obviously frustrated by it. :D

  • Danny W Thomas

    The penguins aren’t saying anything, they’re just making sounds using sounds common to language. We recognize the sounds but they have no meaning. They can’t be deciphered because there isn’t any coded message beneath the gibberish. If you are extracting some understandable meaningful dialog from the gibberish then you’re fabricating it because there are no words or meanings. It’s gibberish.

  • Brett Kyer

    ‘Sup! Just dropped by to write great site. Continue with the good work you’re doing!

  • Paul

    This can also explain the low esteem most people hold for politicians.

  • Lisa

    Very interesting. On the grammatical errors in understandable language, I’ve heard people speak like that and it’s normal for them because they were taught bad grammar. It’s also the way most people write in blogs and e-mail. They use abbreviations expecting others to know what they mean and that’s gibberish until you learn. Unfortunately the capitolized letters supposedly symbolizing expressions is nothing more than being too lazy to spell everything out and is an unknown language to the unitiated who prefer everything spelled out. When it comes to politician speak. we understand perfectly when what they say when it suits us.

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