Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type



Robert Moore


This paper is an examination of the signing brain (that is, the internal neurological processes of individuals who use sign language as their main method of communication in their everyday lives) both before and after experiencing neurological trauma, presenting a synthesis of research from lesion studies as well as modern neuroimaging studies. It will be divided into three main sections, followed by a conclusion. The first of these sections will be an introduction to neurology in the most general sense; describing the salient aspects of the brain’s anatomy and pointing out where they relate to activities implicated in the use of language, as well as explaining certain neuroimaging techniques described in the studies that are referenced within the body of the paper. The second section will be a discussion of the healthy signing brain and current related topics being researched (both general and sign-specific). The third will be a description of the unhealthy, or dysfunctional, signing brain, viewed through the lens of one particular neurological condition known as aphasia. Finally, the paper will conclude with what can be done with and for signers that are impacted by neurolinguistic communication disorders and present a possible explanation of why there seems to be so few solutions for these individuals, as well as why the resource of sign language studies has been heretofore untapped.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.