Volume 9 Issue 8, August 2006

Volume 9 Issue 8

The origins of the neural underpinnings of language are controversial. A study by Ricardo Gilda-Costa and colleagues suggests that the neural substrate for human speech evolved from an ancestor common to humans and macaque monkeys. The authors used PET imaging in macaque monkeys to find activity specific to macaque vocalizations in monkey brain areas homologous to human perisylvian language areas. The cover shows an image of a macaque monkey, which shared a common ancestor with humans 25-30 million years ago. Photo credit: Marc Hauser. (p 1064)

Editorial

Book Review

News and Views

  • News & Views |

    With sufficient training, monkeys as well as people can be taught to ignore visually salient stimuli. Now Ipata and colleagues report that activity in monkey lateral intraparietal cortex (LIP) correlates with this ability to ignore salient stimuli, suggesting that activity in this area represents top-down modulation that adjusts visual salience.

    • Jeremy M Wolfe
  • News & Views |

    The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) controls circadian behavior, and neurons in the SCN are intrinsic oscillators. Meredith et al. now identify the BK potassium channel as a key modulator of spontaneous firing of the SCN.

    • Christopher S Colwell
  • News & Views |

    Dopaminergic neurons are thought to inform decisions by reporting errors in reward prediction. A new study reports dopaminergic responses as monkeys make choices, supporting one computational theory of appetitive learning.

    • Yael Niv
    • , Nathaniel D Daw
    •  & Peter Dayan
  • News & Views |

    A recent study proposes that the random and spontaneous, NMDA receptor–dependent miniature postsynaptic currents at hippocampal synapses serve to regulate local postsynaptic protein synthesis, thereby stabilizing synaptic function.

    • ChiHye Chung
    •  & Ege T Kavalali
  • News & Views |

    Language functions are thought to be controlled largely by cortical areas. A study now finds that the subcortical caudate nucleus is sensitive to language change in bilingual speakers, suggesting a role for this area in control processes.

    • Angela D Friederici

Brief Communications

Articles