Vol. 60 (2022)

How Communication Happens—Where Physical Properties and Meaning Meet in the Brain: Evidence from Semantic, Prosodic and Face Processing Studies

Pages: 129-147



Communication in social groups, especially in human societies, is predicated on efficient decoding of physical properties of auditory and visual signals into messages. In this brief overview, I will discuss processes that lead to our experience of receiving a message focusing on semantic, prosodic and face processing operations. In spite of the fact that we experience such messaging as nearly instantaneous, it involves complex interactions between multiple brain regions that support processes involved in communication. In the course of such interactions neural operations analyze a physical signal, extract its features into abstract representations and assign meaning to them. Furthermore, abnormalities in these processes, brought about by either structural or functional deficits, result in profound cognitive difficulties that often manifest as clinical symptomatology. This chapter discusses in some detail which brain networks make social communication possible, as well as the consequences of their abnormalities.


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