APR 28, 2015 05:07 PM PDT

The Power of Speech and Where it Comes From

Rajagopal speaking on October 2, 2007 at the beginning of Janadesh 2007, a 350 km walk from Gwalior to Delhi by 25,000 people, India.Pericles had it. Abraham Lincoln had it. So did Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, Clarence Darrow, Mahatma Gandhi, Lenny Bruce, Lawrence Olivier and JFK.

Willy Loman didn't have it.

The ‘gift of gab' is powerful. These "super speakers" seem to be able to effortlessly influence to people by simply talking. It is a power that many of us wish we had.

But where does that power come from? Are you born with it? Can you learn it in acting school? By joining Toastmasters?

Researchers at University College London think they may have found the "gift of gab" center in the human brain. After scanning the brains of people whose livelihood depends on talking-professional comedians, attorneys and radio personalities-they found that there are differences in the way the brains of these 'super speakers' work while talking.

Turns out that super speakers put less effort into the basic mechanics of speech and just let it flow, allowing more time to focus on what to say next.

In an interview with The Guardian, Dr Joe Devlin, a neuroscientist at University College London, said: "The fact that they show less activity there reflects the fact that they simply find speech less effortful and I suspect part of that has to do with practice."

Dr Devlin and his colleagues used magnetic resonance imaging scans of the brains of 17 professional comedians, a radio presenter and barrister.

Participants were asked to lie in the scanner while talking for 30 seconds on random topics without hesitation, deviation or repetition - a task based on the BBC 4 panel show Just a Minute.

The responses of these participants were compared against a control group of students.

The same areas of the brain were activated when both the comedians and the students were speaking. But the super speakers showed lower levels of activity in an area of the brain known as Broca's region.

[Source: dailymail.co.uk]
About the Author
You May Also Like
NOV 12, 2018
Plants & Animals
NOV 12, 2018
Researchers Link Sunfish Brain Size to Specific Habitats
To most people, a specific fish species would be the same whether it was found at the shoreline or in the middle of the ocean. But according to research pu...
NOV 26, 2018
Plants & Animals
NOV 26, 2018
Predation Drives Reproductive Patterns in Rodents, Study Finds
Smaller mammals, especially rodents, are rather low on the universal food chain. Due to the nature of their bite-sized physique, larger predators often tak...
DEC 10, 2018
Neuroscience
DEC 10, 2018
Researchers Found Future Choice Predictive Neural Activity In The Prefrontal Cortex
Uncertainty and Gambling go hand-in-hand; there is never a sure bet. Researchers have identified neuronal activity in the prefrontal cortex that encodes predictive action....
JAN 06, 2019
Microbiology
JAN 06, 2019
Fungal Infections Impair Brain Function in a Mouse Model
Many types of fungi in our environment are being linked with increasing frequency to a wide array of health problems....
JAN 11, 2019
Drug Discovery
JAN 11, 2019
Histamine Improves Long-Term Memory
A recent research study found that histamine could improve people’s long-term memory which may be a prospective treatment option to alleviate symptom...
JAN 14, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
JAN 14, 2019
Microscopy Advances Enable the Visualization of Cortical Neurons in Live Mice
Scientists will be able to get a better look at cells in the brain after three-photon microscopy was improved....
Loading Comments...