MacSweeney, M; Capek, C; Campbell, RW; B,; (2008) The signing brain: the neurobiology of sign language. Trends in Cognitive Sciences , 12 (11) 232 - 240.
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Most of our knowledge about the neurobiological bases of language comes from studies of spoken languages. By studying signed languages, we can determine whether what we have learnt so far is characteristic of language per se or whether it is specific to languages that are spoken and heard. Overwhelmingly, lesion and neuroimaging studies suggest that the neural systems supporting signed and spoken language are very similar: both involve a predominantly left-lateralised perisylvian network. More recent studies have also highlighted processing differences between languages in these different modalities. These studies provide rich insights into language and communication processes in deaf and hearing people.
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