When Words Betray Us: Language, the Brain, and Aphasia - Sheila E. Blumstein; | Foyles Bookstore
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When Words Betray Us: Language, the Brain, and Aphasia
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When Words Betray Us: Language, the Brain, and Aphasia (Hardback)

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This book presents a journey into how language is put together for speaking and understanding and how it can come apart when there is injury to the brain. The goal is to provide a window into language and the brain through the lens of aphasia, a speech and language disorder resulting from brain injury in adults. This book answers the question of how the brain analyzes the pieces of language, its sounds, words, meaning, and ultimately puts them together into a unitary whole. While its major focus is on clinical, experimental, and theoretical approaches to language deficits in aphasia, it integrates this work with recent technological advances in neuroimaging to provide a state-of-the-art portrayal of language and brain function. It also shows how current computational models that share properties with those of neurons allow for a common framework to explain how the brain processes language and its parts and how it breaks down according to these principles. Consideration will also be given to whether language can recover after brain injury or when areas of the brain recruited for speaking, understanding, or reading are deprived of input, as seen with people who are deaf or blind. No prior knowledge of linguistics, psychology, computer science, or neuroscience is assumed. The informal style of this book makes it accessible to anyone with an interest in the complexity and beauty of language and who wants to understand how it is put together, how it comes apart, and how language maps on to the brain.

Sheila E. Blumstein received an AB in linguistics from the University of Rochester in 1965 and a PhD also in linguistics from Harvard University in 1970. She spent her career at Brown University on the faculty, teaching and serving in a number of administrative roles including Dean of the College, 1987-1995; Interim Provost, 1998; and Interim President, 2000-2001. She retired in 2018. Blumstein's research interests are on the neural basis of language and the processes and mechanisms involved in speaking and understanding. She spent her career studying aphasia, a speech and language impairment in adults. In her research, she used behavioral and neural measures in persons with and without brain injury. Her research questions focused on how the variable acoustic signal is transformed by perceptual and neural mechanisms into the sounds of language, how speech sounds map to words, and how the mental dictionary is organized for the purposes of language comprehension and production. Blumstein served on a number of scientific review panels and boards for the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the McDonnell Pew Program in Cognitive Neuroscience. She is the recipient of a number of honors and awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Claude Pepper Award from the National Institutes of Health, a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship, an Honorary Doctorate as well as the Susan Colver Rosenberger Medal, both from Brown University, and the Silver Medal in Speech Communication from the Acoustical Society of America. She has been elected Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Linguistic Society of America, and the American Psychological Society.

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