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Neuropsychologia. 2015 May;71:236-47. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.04.007. Epub 2015 Apr 6.

Bilingualism alters brain functional connectivity between "control" regions and "language" regions: Evidence from bimodal bilinguals.

Author information

1
State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning & IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, PR China.
2
Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University Vita Salute San Raffaele and Scientific Institute San Raffaele, Milan, Italy.
3
State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning & IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, PR China; College of Psychology and Education, Zaozhuang University, Zaozhuang 277100, PR China.
4
Center for Studies of Psychological Application, School of Psychology, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, PR China.
5
State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning & IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, PR China; Center for Collaboration and Innovation in Brain and Learning Sciences, Beijing 100875, PR China.
6
State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning & IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, PR China; Center for Collaboration and Innovation in Brain and Learning Sciences, Beijing 100875, PR China. Electronic address: gding72@gmail.com.

Abstract

Previous neuroimaging studies have revealed that bilingualism induces both structural and functional neuroplasticity in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) and the left caudate nucleus (LCN), both of which are associated with cognitive control. Since these "control" regions should work together with other language regions during language processing, we hypothesized that bilingualism may also alter the functional interaction between the dACC/LCN and language regions. Here we tested this hypothesis by exploring the functional connectivity (FC) in bimodal bilinguals and monolinguals using functional MRI when they either performed a picture naming task with spoken language or were in resting state. We found that for bimodal bilinguals who use spoken and sign languages, the FC of the dACC with regions involved in spoken language (e.g. the left superior temporal gyrus) was stronger in performing the task, but weaker in the resting state as compared to monolinguals. For the LCN, its intrinsic FC with sign language regions including the left inferior temporo-occipital part and right inferior and superior parietal lobules was increased in the bilinguals. These results demonstrate that bilingual experience may alter the brain functional interaction between "control" regions and "language" regions. For different control regions, the FC alters in different ways. The findings also deepen our understanding of the functional roles of the dACC and LCN in language processing.

KEYWORDS:

Anterior cingulate cortex; Bilingualism; Brain plasticity; Functional connectivity; Left caudate nucleus

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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