Imaging the brain at multiple scales: how to integrate multi...
“I love you”- Isn’t this one of the most emotional thoughts you can communicate to another person? But what happens when you happen to end up in an ‘international’ relationship? Telling someone ‘I love you’, ‘Ich liebe dich’, ‘Ik hou van jou’ creates a different feeling in your guts, doesn’t it?
This particular long-term observation has led to an idea for our research using EEG-measurements. The circumstances of moving to another country have confronted some of our students with an everyday encounter with languages and language-use different from their mother tongue. It has been noticed that particularly words which carry affective and emotive meaning trigger different associations and feelings inside oneself when uttered in a different language than one’s native one. In addition to this, some languages entail words carrying meanings that are not directly translatable in one’s mother tongue, as well as that they are sometimes even non-existent as concepts in both languages. One example which was thought of is the word ‘gezellig’ in the Dutch language, which cannot be adequately translated into another language without specifying its meaning with a larger word usage.
Consequently, we expect that language-use for communicating emotional meaning might trigger different brain activity when executed in different languages. This led to the research question whether differences in brain activity, while processing emotive word meaning, can be detected and whether those are responsible for the difference in associative feeling?
In the case of the existent-non-existent words, native speakers could be tested on their brain activity when uttering the word while non-native speakers might elicit a different reaction since they might not associate the same kind of ideas (memories etc.) with the concept of the word.
If we deduce differences in brain activity patterns among native speakers and non-native ones this would imply that program developers should take this into account and provide their customers with more specified manuals (explaining what kind of concepts are useful to think about when controlling the game) as well as language-tailored software. In addition to that a basic understanding of why communicating in different languages induces varying intensity of feelings can facilitate interpersonal as well as intercultural relations. Understanding a certain phenomena facilitates acceptance and strengthens one’s ability to deal with arising problems of subtle misunderstandings.
The final report of our group can be see here:
The final presentation is included in the attachment below