How Does the Brain Form Sentences?


Scientific American How Does the Brain Form Sentences? Forming a grammatically correct sentence may seem to require advanced cognitive skills, but it turns out that our creative language capacity might rely on a less sophisticated system than is commonly thought. A recent study suggests that our ability to construct sentences may arise from procedural memory–the same simple memory system that lets our dogs learn to sit on command.
Scientists distinguish between procedural memory, which is relevant for learning skills such as how to swim, and declarative memory, which stores knowledge, including facts and memories of events, such as one’s birthday, says Victor S. Ferreira of the University of California, San Diego. To find out which system is at work when we form sentences, Ferreira and his team exploited a phenomenon called syntactic persistence–speakers tend to use the same grammatical pattern they have used or heard in previous sentences.
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