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Learning language with the wrong neural scaffolding: the cost of neural commitment to sounds.

Finn AS, Hudson Kam CL, Ettlinger M, Vytlacil J, D'Esposito M - Front Syst Neurosci (2013)

Bottom Line: Learners of the distinct-sounds language, however, recruited the Superior Temporal Gyrus (STG) to a greater extent, which was coactive with the Inferior Frontal Gyrus (IFG).Across learners, recruitment of IFG (but not STG) predicted both learning success in tests conducted prior to the scan and grammatical judgment ability during the scan.Data suggest that adults' difficulty learning language, especially grammar, could be due, at least in part, to the neural commitments they have made to the lower level linguistic components of their native language.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of California Berkeley, CA, USA ; Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA, USA.

ABSTRACT
Does tuning to one's native language explain the "sensitive period" for language learning? We explore the idea that tuning to (or becoming more selective for) the properties of one's native-language could result in being less open (or plastic) for tuning to the properties of a new language. To explore how this might lead to the sensitive period for grammar learning, we ask if tuning to an earlier-learned aspect of language (sound structure) has an impact on the neural representation of a later-learned aspect (grammar). English-speaking adults learned one of two miniature artificial languages (MALs) over 4 days in the lab. Compared to English, both languages had novel grammar, but only one was comprised of novel sounds. After learning a language, participants were scanned while judging the grammaticality of sentences. Judgments were performed for the newly learned language and English. Learners of the similar-sounds language recruited regions that overlapped more with English. Learners of the distinct-sounds language, however, recruited the Superior Temporal Gyrus (STG) to a greater extent, which was coactive with the Inferior Frontal Gyrus (IFG). Across learners, recruitment of IFG (but not STG) predicted both learning success in tests conducted prior to the scan and grammatical judgment ability during the scan. Data suggest that adults' difficulty learning language, especially grammar, could be due, at least in part, to the neural commitments they have made to the lower level linguistic components of their native language.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Univariate Analysis. One sample t-tests reveal that English (vs. implicit baseline) across groups (A) and MAL (vs. implicit baseline) across groups (B) are associated with the recruitment of classic language regions. Two sample t-tests reveal that EP learners recruit the left temporo-parietal region more than NEP learners (EP > NEP) (C), while NEP learners recruit the superior-temporal gyrus more than EP learners (NEP > EP) (D) Heat maps indicate the t-statistic.
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Figure 3: Univariate Analysis. One sample t-tests reveal that English (vs. implicit baseline) across groups (A) and MAL (vs. implicit baseline) across groups (B) are associated with the recruitment of classic language regions. Two sample t-tests reveal that EP learners recruit the left temporo-parietal region more than NEP learners (EP > NEP) (C), while NEP learners recruit the superior-temporal gyrus more than EP learners (NEP > EP) (D) Heat maps indicate the t-statistic.

Mentions: NEP and EP learners both recruited regions known to be critical for language processing while performing grammaticality judgments in English and the MAL they learned (Figures 3A,B; Table 1); all contrasts reported are during the listening period. One sample t-tests reveal that regions recruited by both groups for the newly learned language (vs. implicit baseline) include the left IFG (including Broca's region) the Insula (bilaterally) the STG [bilaterally; including posterior language regions, and the Angular Gyrus (Figures 3A,B; Table 1)].


Learning language with the wrong neural scaffolding: the cost of neural commitment to sounds.

Finn AS, Hudson Kam CL, Ettlinger M, Vytlacil J, D'Esposito M - Front Syst Neurosci (2013)

Univariate Analysis. One sample t-tests reveal that English (vs. implicit baseline) across groups (A) and MAL (vs. implicit baseline) across groups (B) are associated with the recruitment of classic language regions. Two sample t-tests reveal that EP learners recruit the left temporo-parietal region more than NEP learners (EP > NEP) (C), while NEP learners recruit the superior-temporal gyrus more than EP learners (NEP > EP) (D) Heat maps indicate the t-statistic.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3824091&req=5

Figure 3: Univariate Analysis. One sample t-tests reveal that English (vs. implicit baseline) across groups (A) and MAL (vs. implicit baseline) across groups (B) are associated with the recruitment of classic language regions. Two sample t-tests reveal that EP learners recruit the left temporo-parietal region more than NEP learners (EP > NEP) (C), while NEP learners recruit the superior-temporal gyrus more than EP learners (NEP > EP) (D) Heat maps indicate the t-statistic.
Mentions: NEP and EP learners both recruited regions known to be critical for language processing while performing grammaticality judgments in English and the MAL they learned (Figures 3A,B; Table 1); all contrasts reported are during the listening period. One sample t-tests reveal that regions recruited by both groups for the newly learned language (vs. implicit baseline) include the left IFG (including Broca's region) the Insula (bilaterally) the STG [bilaterally; including posterior language regions, and the Angular Gyrus (Figures 3A,B; Table 1)].

Bottom Line: Learners of the distinct-sounds language, however, recruited the Superior Temporal Gyrus (STG) to a greater extent, which was coactive with the Inferior Frontal Gyrus (IFG).Across learners, recruitment of IFG (but not STG) predicted both learning success in tests conducted prior to the scan and grammatical judgment ability during the scan.Data suggest that adults' difficulty learning language, especially grammar, could be due, at least in part, to the neural commitments they have made to the lower level linguistic components of their native language.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of California Berkeley, CA, USA ; Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA, USA.

ABSTRACT
Does tuning to one's native language explain the "sensitive period" for language learning? We explore the idea that tuning to (or becoming more selective for) the properties of one's native-language could result in being less open (or plastic) for tuning to the properties of a new language. To explore how this might lead to the sensitive period for grammar learning, we ask if tuning to an earlier-learned aspect of language (sound structure) has an impact on the neural representation of a later-learned aspect (grammar). English-speaking adults learned one of two miniature artificial languages (MALs) over 4 days in the lab. Compared to English, both languages had novel grammar, but only one was comprised of novel sounds. After learning a language, participants were scanned while judging the grammaticality of sentences. Judgments were performed for the newly learned language and English. Learners of the similar-sounds language recruited regions that overlapped more with English. Learners of the distinct-sounds language, however, recruited the Superior Temporal Gyrus (STG) to a greater extent, which was coactive with the Inferior Frontal Gyrus (IFG). Across learners, recruitment of IFG (but not STG) predicted both learning success in tests conducted prior to the scan and grammatical judgment ability during the scan. Data suggest that adults' difficulty learning language, especially grammar, could be due, at least in part, to the neural commitments they have made to the lower level linguistic components of their native language.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus