Perception of Morse code and understanding its message are involved in different processes in brain

It has been one of the main interests for me to know how
Morse code is perceived and understood by us. We are doing 
that process without being conscious of them when we operate 
on this mode. But It might help us to train ourselves for 
communication on this mode and convince it is worth spending 
our lives learning codes and communicating with this mode.

I have spent attention about how the modern brain physiology 
on this issue with scientific words. There have been a few studies 
published on this theme. This article with its abstract shown below is 
one of them recently published and suggestive in our understanding 
of this issue..


 2015 Nov;36(11):4512-28. doi: 10.1002/hbm.22939. Epub 2015 Aug 25.

From perceptual to lexico-semantic analysis-cortical plasticity enabling new levels of processing.


Certain kinds of stimuli can be processed on multiple levels. While the neural correlates 

of different levels of processing (LOPs) have been investigated to some extent, most of 

the studies involve skills and/or knowledge already present when performing the task. 

In this study we specifically sought to identify neural correlates of an evolving skill that 

allows the transition from perceptual to a lexico-semantic stimulus analysis. Eighteen 
participants were trained to decode 12 letters of Morse code that were presented 

acoustically inside and outside of the scanner environment. Morse code was presented 

in trains of three letters while brain activity was assessed with fMRI. Participants either 

attended to the stimulus length (perceptual analysis), or evaluated its meaning 

distinguishing words from nonwords (lexico-semantic analysis). Perceptual and lexico-semantic 
analyses shared a mutual network comprising the left premotor cortex, the supplementary 

motor area (SMA) and the inferior parietal lobule (IPL). Perceptual analysis was associated 

with a strong brain activation in the SMA and the superior temporal gyrus bilaterally (STG), 

which remained unaltered from pre and post training. In the lexico-semantic analysis post 

learning, study participants showed additional activation in the left inferior frontal cortex (IFC) 

and in the left occipitotemporal cortex (OTC), regions known to be critically involved in lexical 
processing. Our data provide evidence for cortical plasticity evolving with a learning process 

enabling the transition from perceptual to lexico-semantic stimulus analysis. Importantly, 

the activation pattern remains task-related LOP and is thus the result of a decision process 

as to which LOP to engage in. Hum Brain Mapp 36:4512-4528, 2015. © 2015 The Authors. 

Human Brain Mapping Published byWiley Periodicals, Inc.
© 2015 The Authors. Human Brain Mapping Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


cortical plasticity; fMRI; learning; levels of processing; perception

~~~ ~~~ ~~~
The function, either definite or speculative, of the brain areas quoted in this article are as foolows.
the postural stabilization of the body, the coordination of both sides of 

the body such as during bimanual action, the control of movements that 

are internally generated rather than triggered by sensory events, and the 

control of sequences of movements.

the perception of emotions in facial stimuli,[2] and interpretation of 

sensory information. The Inferior parietal lobule is concerned with language, 


 auditory processing, including language

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

It seems to me that both perceptual and understanding process are involved 

in the same areas, that is, lt premotor cortex, SMA and IPL. On the other 

hand, lt IFC and OTC, known to be the areas of lexical processing, are activated 

in uderstanding process after training. 

It is beyond my knowledge discussing what the difference of the areas activated in 

each process means. What I could say from this article is as follows;

It is amazing that Morse code perception/understanding in brain could be a topic 

in this field of science. While it is our concern how they describe about it in scientific 

terms, the researchers must take this learning process as one of the scientific 

epistemological findings. The communication mode composed of the simplest symbols, 

that is, dashes and dots, must be a good tool for that purpose.  

Perception of Morse code and understanding its message are handled, partly, at the 

same areas in brain. On the other hand, the latter seems to involve in the higher 

lexicological center. As the other report indicated that reading Morse code is 

comparable to reading printed matters, understanding its message must be a highly 

intellectual process.

Further discussion to try to correspond each process to the actual operation of CW 

mode is a quite personal speculation of mine. DXing or contesting should be 

involved in the perception process or, at least, some extension of its process. Each 

operation handles only exchanges of meaningless symbols. Understanding 

messages is the essence of ordinary QSOs. Through the system of symbols of 

Morse code, we understand what the others mean in their message. This process 

should be handled by the lexicological center in brain. This study seems to tell us we 

should discriminate these two aspects of CW operation. It means a lot to us. I will 

discuss about this discrimination from this perspective in another post.  

PS; Sorry for the irregular fonts in this post. It seems a kind of bug in the blog format,

which I could not do with at all.


  1. I agree about your theory on dealing with terrorists...but one problem is unfortuanately many of the sources who finace these terrorists are embedded with our allies. Can you say oil? The untouchable word. Allow millions to die and many more to suffer so as not to rock the oil countries boat....and the wahhabis are allowed to spend their share or the oil money as they please as in agreement with the kings and princes who are allowed to live like kings princes.

    1. Hi Leath,

      Yes, I know what you mean. There seem to be those who give the funds and the arms to the terrorists. I won't question if it is an ally or the others. It should be banned to do such a thing. And it should be remembered that the aerial bombing has victimized so many civilians, whose folks could become another terrorists. You know how many civilians have been killed in the Iraq war. The same thing is being repeated in Syria. This chain of hatred and terror should be stopped as soon as possible. The reason and cause why terrorists were born should be learned. Without solving that, we would come into the dark age of terrorism.

      Say hello to Ernie. I love such a dog like kitty very much. We used to have such a cat a few years ago, who has gone somewhere to our sorrow.

      See you again soon. Thanks for the comment.


  2. PS The above opinion was given by
    W7ABT, Leath, OR