The results of a new study published in the journal Science argue that a specific brain circuit is behind the high-speed back and forth that makes conversation possible.
Males of the study species, Alston’s singing mouse (Scotinomys teguina), generate songs as they challenge competitors by taking turns singing, alternating similarly to humans talking, and at the same speed.
The lead author of that study, Michael A. Long, PhD, associate professor in NYU Langone’s Departments of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery and Neuroscience and Physiology, says “our work launches a new field by employing a new mammalian model to examine brain mechanisms behind the sub-second precision of vocal turn-taking.”
“We need to understand how our brains generate verbal replies instantly using nearly a hundred muscles if we are to design new treatments for the millions of Americans for whom this process has failed, in some cases because of diseases or traumatic events,” adds Dr. Long.
Read more from The New York Times.