Early Brain and Language Development The evolving views of the relationship between language and brain that are emerging in today’s literature are in many ways reminiscent of the discussions which flourished within the scientific literature at the end of the 19th century and into the first several decades of the 20th century. At least ... Article
Article  |   May 01, 1997
Early Brain and Language Development
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Dennis L. Molfese
    Department of Psychology Southern Illinois University - Carbondale
  • Diane R. Fox
    Department of Psychology Southern Illinois University - Carbondale
Article Information
Articles
Article   |   May 01, 1997
Early Brain and Language Development
SIG 2 Perspectives on Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders, May 1997, Vol. 7, 11-17. doi:10.1044/nnsld7.1.11
SIG 2 Perspectives on Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders, May 1997, Vol. 7, 11-17. doi:10.1044/nnsld7.1.11
The evolving views of the relationship between language and brain that are emerging in today’s literature are in many ways reminiscent of the discussions which flourished within the scientific literature at the end of the 19th century and into the first several decades of the 20th century. At least since Dax’s presentation in 1836 (Dax, 1865), discussion as to the locus of the brain’s role in language has centered in various ways on the left hemisphere of the brain. Broca (1864)  and then Wernicke (1875)  set the stage for the rise of localizationists’ views, which generally argued that language abilities were restricted within the brain to the left hemisphere. While a number of individuals, such as Hughlings Jackson (Taylor, 1958) and Marie (Marie, 1922) dissented, it was not until Head’s arguments in the mid- and late 1920s that a holistic view of brain organization became a more widely respected option (Head, 1926). With the development of more sophisticated surgical and behavioral testing techniques in the decades following World War II, however, views favoring more strict localization began to emerge once again, thanks in part to the contributions of such individuals as Basser (1962), Geschwind (1965a, 1965b), Sperry (1961), and Lenneberg (1967) . Today’s emphasis on the use of new technologies, such as Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), provide increasingly powerful tools to reassess the role that the whole brain as well as its parts play in language processing. Yet while these procedures appear to provide increasing support for a more structural, localized view of the brain, discoveries elaborating the role of the cerebellum as well as the right hemisphere in language processing are reminiscent of Hughlings Jackson’s belief that language abilities involve a dynamic process which necessarily recruits the entire brain as well as subcortical components in an ever-shifting pattern of involvement. Given such shifts in beliefs regarding brain -language relationships over the past century, one suspects that our views of brain-language relationships will continue to undergo a great deal more debate and revision well into the next century.
First Page Preview
First page PDF preview
First page PDF preview ×
View Large
Become a SIG Affiliate
Pay Per View
Entire SIG 2 Perspectives on Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders content & archive
24-hour access
This Issue
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access
We've Changed Our Publication Model...
The 19 individual SIG Perspectives publications have been relaunched as the new, all-in-one Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups.