Humans spend the majority of their time communicating: speaking and listening make up to 60% of our day. But did you know that about 66% of people experience talking in their sleep as well? Sleep talking is defined as the production of speech (words and sentences) or vocalisations (mumbles, whispers, and laughs) during sleep. However, if you tell someone that they were sleep talking, they will likely not remember it! In fact, when someone talks during their sleep, they are not really aware of it.
About 25–40% of people who suffer a stroke have difficulties with one or more aspects of communication—e.g., speaking, understanding, writing, or reading. This is what is called aphasia. About 80% of aphasia cases result from stroke. Aphasia mostly occurs after a stroke on the left side of the brain, where language is mostly located. However, even when critical areas have irreversible damage, patients recover some or even all of their language and communication abilities. How could research help these patients to improve their communication abilities?
A visit to the Saturday food market in the city is an ordinary event. Interestingly, even something so ordinary includes the coordination of many simultaneous activities. For example, a market shopper might be talking on the phone to their international friend in English while searching for the most appetizing fruits and vegetables, maneuvering themselves through the crowd, taking out their wallet, and asking to pay in Dutch. The reason that we can juggle between all these activities so effortlessly is because the brain knows these familiar settings, making it easier to predict what is about to come. But how exactly does our brain manage to do it? This is exactly what Alex Titus is investigating as part of his doctoral research at Radboud University.
Dr. Merel Wolf was a PhD student at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. At the start of this year she defended her thesis entitled ‘Spoken and written word processing: Effects of presentation modality and individual differences in experience to written language’ . Luckily she was happy to answer some questions about it.
Dr. Nadine de Rue was a PhD student at the Radboud University. At the start of this year she defended her thesis entitled ‘Phonological Contrast and Conflict in Dutch Vowels: Neurobiological and Psycholinguistic Evidence from Children and Adults’. Luckily she was happy to answer some questions about it.