A part of the brain exclusively devoted to processing speech has been identified by a team of New York University neuroscientists. Its findings point to the superior temporal sulcus (STS), located in the temporal lobe, and help settle a longstanding debate about role-specific neurological functions.
"We now know there is at least one part of the brain that specializes in the processing of speech and doesn't have a role in handling other sounds," explains David Poeppel, professor in the Department of Psychology and Center for Neural Science.
The study sought to address a decades-old uncertainty (and dispute) in neural science: are there certain regions of the brain exclusively dedicated to managing speech, thereby ignoring other sounds, such as music or animal noises?
To address this question, the researchers conducted a series of experiments in which the study's subjects listened to speech as well as to other types of "environmental" sounds that ranged from fireworks to ping pong to dogs barking.