Communication is an elaborate process that coordinates a number of functions within the human brain. This carefully choreographed process is what helps us hone speech skills, learn how to play an instrument and hold a conversation with other people. Until recently little was known of the connection within the cerebral processes between the auditory and motor systems. How are these systems connected, and what is the benefit of these newer findings?

Whenever a sound is heard, the brain is able to determine whether it was from an outside source or if it was from oneself. This is where movement comes into play. The sounds made from one’s own movements register differently than movement and subsequent sound from another source. The hearing sense being wired to movement is important. Distinguishing where a sound is generated from has great implications for the study in understanding and treating of certain diseases. Recently, the first diagram of these intricate systems and how they interact has been developed. A veritable map of these processes is significant in a number of ways.

Careful consideration of these routes shows that the auditory nerves receive copies of motor commands generated by the brain. When a sound is about to be made, the brain is basically preparing itself to receive the sound. A veritable lowering of the volume takes place within the brain when a sound is self-generated. Literally, the brain is quieting its inner voice. This type of close relationship can help scientists explain certain psychosis and other ailments.

Certain disorders such as schizophrenia can be better understood and therefore treated in light of this new information. How so? Those suffering certain mental disorders often cannot determine where certain sounds, particularly voices, are coming from. Voices generated in the mind are not quieted and therefore are thought to be from the outside. Understanding the interplay between these processes can help researches pinpoint trouble areas. Further investigation is needed, but researchers are hopeful that future findings will be positive.