In many daily situations, communication may be unsatisfactory for various reasons, from the ambient noise and the language used by the interlocutors to the different meaning attached to the words by different people. For example, a situation that is very common and difficult to avoid is when a wife has the habit of finishing her husband’s sentences in a dialogue. Here’s how such a dialogue could look like:
He: Hi, honey! What do you think happened to me today?
She: I don’t know! What?
He: I was on my way to the store and …
She: The police stopped you!
He: No … I was driving and …
She: You had a car accident!
He: No! Let me finish!
This kind of dialogue is harmful and frustrates the storyteller because he is not allowed to finish his story. Although it is more common in women, this can also be the case with men. They too have the habit of finishing the sentences of their interlocutors.
This phenomenon of filling in the blanks is linked to the hypothalamus part of the brain, which is a kind of relay or antenna for memories stored into the brain. If we think of an orange, its color, shape, texture and taste are aspects that the brain remembers through the hypothalamus, thus understanding that it is an orange. The same thing applies to language. During a conversation, the hypothalamus connects the words with the meanings stored in the brain to understand and give meaning to sentences. Scientists have discovered that patients with hypothalamus problems have had difficulty connecting a word with its meaning, which has led to the conclusion that language is related to memory.
This is a significant discovery that can help us speak and understand a language better. It will bring about a new era of study of the language and the role of the brain in understanding this language. Maybe it will also help spouses not to wrongly finish one another’s sentences and to avoid creating more reasons to quarrel.