Friday, July 11, 2003

I walked in this morning and had a response to my question about spelling and the way the brain works. Scott's my good friend that now lives and goes to school in beautiful downtown Green Bay. Here's what he wrote:

Jon -
How ya doin'? Upon my morning ritual of checking the e-mail, news sites, and your and Seth's Blogs, I found a topic that I can answer quickly and accurately! WOO HOO! My linguistics research tells me that the language portion of the human brain is... wait for iiiiiit... all over. That is to say that the language centers of the brain CAN be located just about anywhere, but usually are not. They are usually located in the left hemisphere due to normal hemispheric lateralization along with other abstract thinking ability. People that lose this area of the brain later in life will usually suffer some form of language deficiency. People that lose it early or never had access to it almost always undergo a sort of shuffle with regard to brain capacity so that other areas of the brain take up the slack. The brain is very powerful and not very well understood, so we don't know yet how or why this happens so readily, but there are some AMAZING brain stories. I recently read a study on a guy on the east coast who complained of chronic headaches after a head injury. His doctor found out that he was producing too much fluid, filling the skull, and putting too much pressure on his NONEXISTENT BRAIN! This guy had (has, he's still alive) no more than a golf ball's worth of brain matter and functions at near normal capacities. The epithet "empty-headed" suddenly becomes a much more pointed barb!
Anyway - the experience you describe (which I think we had a conversation about years ago) is a fairly common occurrence for people who use a variety of unconscious spelling strategies. Long story/explanation, but it implies that you are generally a superior speller. It is also seen as a common symptom in early Alzheimer's patients. (I am not making this up.) But they usually forget the word entirely for a time. I can't remember the name of the experience right now but I'll look up the exact terminology for you...

Peace/Love - Spread 'em around

Cool, eh?


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