Distinct distributed patterns of neural activity are associated with two languages in the bilingual brain
Author(s)Xu, Min; Baldauf, Daniel; Chang, Chun Qi; Desimone, Robert; Tan, Li Hai
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A large body of previous neuroimaging studies suggests that multiple languages are processed and organized in a single neuroanatomical system in the bilingual brain, although differential activation may be seen in some studies because of different proficiency levels and/or age of acquisition of the two languages. However, one important possibility is that the two languages may involve interleaved but functionally independent neural populations within a given cortical region, and thus, distinct patterns of neural computations may be pivotal for the processing of the two languages. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and multivariate pattern analyses, we tested this possibility in Chinese-English bilinguals when they performed an implicit reading task. We found a broad network of regions wherein the two languages evoked different patterns of activity, with only partially overlapping patterns of voxels in a given region. These regions, including the middle occipital cortices, fusiform gyri, and lateral temporal, temporoparietal, and prefrontal cortices, are associated with multiple aspects of language processing. The results suggest the functional independence of neural computations underlying the representations of different languages in bilinguals.
DepartmentMcGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Xu, Min et al. “Distinct Distributed Patterns of Neural Activity Are Associated with Two Languages in the Bilingual Brain.” Science Advances 3, 7 (July 2017): e1603309 © 2017 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science
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