Most people can't captivate an audience like Martin Luther King Jr. or Winston Churchill could, but the human mind does its best to mask the difference, according to researchers with the University of Glasgow's Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology. The scientists had 18 volunteers listen to audio tapes while undergoing MRI scans. They found that when the listeners heard boring, monotonous speech, the brain's auditory cortex became more active, suggesting that an "inner voice" was working to make the speech more interesting, in order to hold the listener's attention. In other words, the brain "talks over" what it hears. The researchers had already determined that the brain uses that same inner voice when a person reads silently. One of the researchers, Prof. Christopher Scheepers, said that the latest study builds on what was already known about the brain's creation of that inner voice. "Now it appears the brain does the same even when listening to monotonously-spoken direct speech quotations,” he explained.
The magic of the human brain:
- A baby's brain more than doubles in size during the first year of life; it continues to grow until late in one's teens.
- The brain can't feel pain, but it does interpret it, with some neurons passing information to each other at 250 mph (402 km/h).
- Although the brain only accounts for about 3 percent of a person's weight, it uses around 20% of the body's oxygen and blood flow.