Researchers discovered that sentences with unusual grammar or unexpected meaning activate the brain's language processing centers more than straightforward or nonsensical sentences, because Complex Sentences Fire Up Brain’s Language Centers
They used an artificial language network to identify sentences that drove and suppressed brain activity, finding that linguistic complexity and surprisal were key factors.
Sentences requiring cognitive effort to decipher, such as those with unusual grammar or meaning, evoked the highest brain responses. The study offers insights into how the brain processes language and has potential applications in understanding higher-level cognition.
1. MIT researchers used an artificial language network and functional MRI to study the brain’s language processing regions’ responses to different sentences.
2. Sentences with linguistic complexity and surprisal, requiring cognitive effort, activated the language centers more strongly.
3. The study’s findings can help improve our understanding of how the brain processes language and may have broader implications for cognitive research.
Source: Duke University, Dan Vahaba,
Original Research: The findings will appear in Molecular Psychiatry
How do Word / Mind Triangles work?
Word / Mind triangles are the perfect tool used in Cognitive Defusion to help individuals shift from a binary mindset to a more complex, dynamic mindset. One basic idea of a mind triangle is that it consists of three points, each representing a different aspect of an individual's experience: thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
When we experience a distressing thought or emotion, we often get caught up in it and view it as an absolute truth. This can lead to a binary mindset where we feel like we have only two options: to believe the thought or emotion or to try to push it away. However, this binary mindset can be limiting and may not allow for a more nuanced understanding of our experience.
By using a mind triangle, individuals can learn to view their thoughts and emotions as just one aspect of their experience, along with their behavior and physical sensations. This can help them develop a more complex and dynamic understanding of their experience, rather than seeing it in black and white terms.
For example, if someone is experiencing the distressing thought "I am a failure," they might initially feel trapped in this thought and see it as an absolute truth. However, using a mind triangle, they can learn to view this thought as just one aspect of their experience, along with their feelings and behaviors. They might notice that this thought makes them feel anxious and depressed, and that it leads them to avoid situations where they might fail. By examining all three points of the mind triangle, they might begin to see that their thought is not necessarily resourceful and that they have other options besides believing it or avoiding situations where they might fail.
In this way, mind triangles can be a powerful tool for cognitive defusion because they help individuals develop a more complex and nuanced understanding of their experience, rather than getting stuck in binary thinking patterns. This can lead to greater emotional intelligence, increased self-awareness, and improved overall well-being.