Native signers may get right-brain aid

3:53pm, December 11, 2001

Use and understanding of spoken language is largely orchestrated by the brain's left side. However, a team of neuroscientists now suggests that a right-brain area assumes a critical role in deciphering sign language, at least among native signers.

When viewing signed sentences of a particular sign language, such as American sign language, 16 adults who grew up signing in that language displayed unique activation of the right angular gyrus, say Aaron J. Newman of the University of Oregon in Eugene and his colleagues. This brain region has already been implicated in the perception of bodily motions and spatial information.

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