Wednesday, 1 February 2012

More Neuroscience Nightmares (response to LCH)

So scary. especially after hearing Lawrence Abu Hamdan's 'Aural Contract : The Freedom of Speech' - check out his article in Cabinet 43.... not too hard to imagine a dystopic world where an immigrants geo-vocal, is sonically and neuro-linguistically mapped onto preset criteria.... a horridly politicised mix of pseudo-sciences such as speech analysis and 'interpretations' of neuro-linguistic data....

Broca's area is fascinating:

"Broca's Area is named after the French physician Pierre Paul Broca, who identified the brain region during post mortem examinations of two patients who had lost the ability to speak after suffering strokes. These patients were still able to understand the speech of others perfectly well, and the area Broca identified - which is located in the inferior frontal gyrus of the left hemisphere - was later found to control the throat and tongue muscles required for production of speech. It has therefore long been assumed to be involved solely in speech production."

But this is all very logos-centric right, it's language but not voice, voice is not language. Isn't one of the most fascinating things about the voice (and singing) it's connection to the physical body, to breath - how you can sense when someones excited or nervous? So 'analysing' accents or studying brain activity in Broca's Area is really limited to language which is vastly separate to voice.... So the saccharine, hollow "Have a nice day" can be analysed through these 'scientific' or empirical processes with no scope to understand why sentiment from behind a MacDonalds counter means much less then the same sentiment uttered by your family or partner - yknow?

So can an animal, reptilian, grain can be communicated? Ripping straight off wikipedia:

"The reptilian complex, also known as the R-complex or "reptilian brain" was the name MacLean gave to the basal ganglia, structures derived from the floor of the forebrain during development. The term derives from the fact that comparative neuroanatomists once believed that the forebrains of reptiles and birds were dominated by these structures. MacLean contended that the reptilian complex was responsible for species typical instinctual behaviors involved in aggression, dominance, territoriality, and ritual displays."

So you can say "don't worry, I'll deal with it" with a soft, sympathetic, caring tone or an aggressive, reptiloidally mediated snarl. The same language, presumably the results of exactly the same phenomena in Broca's Area etc - but both tempered and warped by physiological aspects outside of language, - the formers delicacy and sweetness - its meaningful essence governed by the speakers softness of breath, the latter's aggressiveness governed by the speakers physiological speech affects of aggression, or the fight or flight syndrome (which is linked to the reptilian cortex)......


It's a shame that paleopsychology and phylogenetics only talk about the mammalian, reptilian and 'recent' human neo-cortex - if there is any mention of fish or chordates then I could really start having fun with my Mermaids/Sirens analysis!!!!

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