Do different languages light up different neurons for the same concept ? Do clusters of neurons correspond to a certain thought?

64 views
0

Do different languages light up different neurons for the same concept ? Do clusters of neurons correspond to a certain thought?

In: 183

[removed]

There are sections of the brain that are specialized for certain tasks, for example auditory or visual processing, but concept-based linkages are very person-independent.

Neuron linkages work a little like a kind of sticky RAM. When a concept is learned, it builds connections between existing data units which are stored somewhat randomly. This is one of the reasons why BCI software is so difficult to nail down. In addition to scanner resolution problems, there must be a kind of baseline adaptation that needs to be performed to find what area corresponds to what data per person.

[removed]

The brain more or less has a dedicated section(s) used for processing language, regardless of where the language comes from or what order the person learned them. It’s not like, for example, Thai uses one part of the brain and French uses another.

That being said, language is a lot like art. It’s not always the same from person to person, culture to culture, setting to setting. Your brain is a highly capable factory and though there is a main terminal responsible for language it might need to ask for assistance from other parts when trying to determine meaning and pragmatics.

The answer is no. There isn’t any logical correlation between a word and a “concept”, nor is there any logical correlation between a “concept” and neurological activity. There is an *empirical* connection between words and neurons: a specific neuron or set of neurons *in a particular person* can be correlated to a specific word, and certain aspects of that word which might be thought of as relating to some logical “concept” can also have neurological correlations. But “concepts” are intellectual (not neurological) constructs; their existence is effectively *fictional*. The idea of concepts is used as a (supposedly productive) hypothesis about how words, reasoning, neurological activity, and logic work, but the words (and/or other symbols) we use to describe these mythical “concepts” are themselves just words, and don’t have the logical consistency that many people insist they do, could, or should have.

A language is more than a vocabulary (set of words), and includes a grammar (apparent rules for combining the words in sentences) and this (again supposedly logical) correlation of grammar can also be empirically linked to neurological activity, but not logically correlated. When two different words in two distinct languages are said to refer to the same “concept”, this just means that they can be interpreted as meaning the same idea, it does not indicate, let alone prove, that the idea has any logical precision or consistency and is a “concept”.

When trying to think about language, neurology, and reasoning, it is helpful to avoid using the word “concept”. The words “word” and “idea” refer to real things; neither is necessarily logically precise because they are not physical objects. But they are not fictitious the way “concepts” are, so your reasoning will be improved if you think about and choose whichever one fits best in the thought you are trying to convey. If it doesn’t seem to matter whether you use the word “word” or the word “idea”, then use whichever you prefer in the moment. If neither works and you truly believe you need to use the word “concept”, then what you are trying to say is almost certainly false.