Ursula Bellugi smiling for the camera wearing a purple shirt in 2015
Ursula Bellugi, Leading Sign Language Neuroscientist, Dies at 91
Her research showed that communication via sign language is as neurologically complex as spoken language. 
ABOVE: The Salk Institute
Ursula Bellugi, Leading Sign Language Neuroscientist, Dies at 91
Ursula Bellugi, Leading Sign Language Neuroscientist, Dies at 91

Her research showed that communication via sign language is as neurologically complex as spoken language. 

Her research showed that communication via sign language is as neurologically complex as spoken language. 

ABOVE: The Salk Institute


Mushrooms in the forest next to a tree trunk covered in moss.
Can Mushrooms “Talk” to Each Other?
Natalia Mesa | Apr 6, 2022
Forest floor-dwelling fungi can send one another electrical signals to form word-like clusters, according to a computer scientist, but whether that represents something akin to language isn’t clear.
Photo of wooden block letters
Distracted Brains Better at Parsing Unfamiliar Languages: Study
Catherine Offord | Apr 4, 2022
People who had cognitive functions depleted by noninvasive brain stimulation or a mentally demanding task could subconsciously recognize individual words in a made-up language more easily than controls, researchers find.
Trixie Gardner (left) and Allen Gardner (right) spend time interacting with Washoe (center).
R. Allen Gardner, Who Taught Chimps to Sign, Dies at 91
Lisa Winter | Oct 5, 2021
Gardner famously claimed to have taught chimpanzees to communicate with people using American Sign Language by raising them as if they were human children.
Conceptual image of numbers
Is Your Brain Wired for Numbers?
Catherine Offord | Oct 1, 2021
Our perception of quantity, separate from counting or estimation of magnitude more generally, is foundational to human cognition, according to some neuroscientists.
One white mouse with red eyes runs on a blue exercise wheel, while another mouse stands with front paws on the wheel
Serious Infections Linked to Autism: Study
Abby Olena | Sep 17, 2021
In both a mouse model and the hospital records of more than 3 million children, researchers found a connection between strong immune activation in males and later symptoms of autism spectrum disorder.
A woman sits with a camera and recording equipment looking up at a tree full of bats (unseen).
Baby Talk: Bat Pups Babble Like Human Infants
Annie Melchor | Aug 20, 2021
By studying the vocal behavior of 20 baby bats from birth to weaning, researchers have identified striking similarities between how young humans and bats develop communication skills.
mole-rat, naked mole-rat, animal behavior, social behavior, dialect, language, eusocial, evolution,
Naked Mole Rat Colonies Have Their Own Unique Dialects
Amanda Heidt | Feb 4, 2021
Chirp dialects appear to be enforced by the colony’s queen, but scientists aren’t sure how. 
Publishing in English Presents Challenges for International Authors
Jef Akst | Mar 10, 2020
When submitting manuscripts to Western journals, authors face issues that go beyond language barriers.
gender imbalance stem science women researchers publications citations
Men Promote Scientific Findings More Effusively than Women Do
Lisa Winter | Dec 17, 2019
Male researchers are more likely to describe their work in publications using positive superlatives than their female colleagues are, a habit tied to more citations.
Do English-Only Policies Foster or Damage Inclusivity in Science?
Shawna Williams | Dec 1, 2019
Speaking a common language is key to a well-integrated team, but guidance is sparse on what—if anything—principal investigators should do about it.
hemispherectomy epilepsy fmri brain neural connections
Missing Brain Hemisphere Tied to Fortified Neural Networks
Kerry Grens | Nov 20, 2019
A small study finds that patients who had half their brains removed to treat epilepsy have stronger neural networks than controls, perhaps explaining how they can retain language and cognition skills.
The Brain Interprets Spoken and Written Language the Same Way
Catherine Offord | Nov 1, 2019
Neural activity associated with the meaning of words is independent of whether those words are read or listened to, a study finds.
mri fmri neuroscience genetics cognition
Replication Refutes Study Linking Neuroimaging to Genetics
Emma Yasinski | Sep 30, 2019
The original experiment found brain activity as measured by fMRI was tied to particular genetic variants.
abc stroke perinatal language development
Kids’ Brains Remarkably Plastic After Stroke
Ashley P. Taylor | Aug 23, 2019
A small study reports that, among children who had left-hemisphere damage as newborns, the complementary region of the right hemisphere appears to compensate and protect language development.
Softer Diets Allowed Early Humans to Pronounce “F,” “V” Sounds
Katarina Zimmer | Mar 14, 2019
Drastic dietary changes during the agricultural revolution altered the configuration of the human bite, paving the way for new sounds in spoken language, a new study finds.
Duke Professor Urged Chinese Students to Speak English
Carolyn Wilke | Jan 28, 2019
In an email, biostatistics professor Megan Neely warned students of “unintended consequences” from speaking their native language on campus. She has since left a leadership post.
Dialogue Improves Children’s Learning Abilities
Sukanya Charuchandra | Nov 1, 2018
Regardless of parental income and education, children who engage in more two-way conversation with their parents learn better.

silhouettes of people atop an image of a laboratory gel
Language Gene Dethroned
Shawna Williams | Aug 3, 2018
Contrary to earlier results, FOXP2 did not undergo a “selective sweep” as humans developed language, a study finds.
The Scientist Staff | Jul 1, 2018
Meet some of the people featured in the July/August 2018 issue of The Scientist.