Researchers have proven that American Sign Language is a language, as the brain process for ASL is the same as for spoken language.
Deaf people process American Sign Language and simple gestures in the part of the brain that also processes spoken language, according to an international research group headed by a Dalhousie University neuroscientist.
The researchers were headed by Dr Aaron Newman, associate professor with Halifax University’s department of psychology and neuroscience. The collaborators were from Georgetown University, and the universities of Geneva and Rochester. Through the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging, they showed that congenitally deaf people process ASL in the brain’s left hemisphere.
The subjects who were not deaf processed the information in the portion of the brain that is used for human movement.
“There is research going back to the ’60s showing that ASL is not universally appreciated, and it touches on issues concerning the idea it is not a language,” Newman said.