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Brain Lang. 2019 Sep;196:104654. doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2019.104654. Epub 2019 Jul 12.

Microstructural plasticity in the bilingual brain.

Author information

1
Center for Brain Disorders and Cognitive Science, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China; Center for Language and Brain, Shenzhen Institute of Neuroscience, Shenzhen 518057, China; School of Biomedical Engineering, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China.
2
Center for Brain Disorders and Cognitive Science, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China; Center for Language and Brain, Shenzhen Institute of Neuroscience, Shenzhen 518057, China.
3
Center for Brain Disorders and Cognitive Science, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China; Center for Language and Brain, Shenzhen Institute of Neuroscience, Shenzhen 518057, China; College of Psychology and Sociology, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China.
4
Center for Brain Disorders and Cognitive Science, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China; Center for Language and Brain, Shenzhen Institute of Neuroscience, Shenzhen 518057, China; School of Biomedical Engineering, Shenzhen University Health Science Center, Shenzhen 518060, China.
5
Center for MRI Research, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China. Electronic address: jgao@pku.edu.cn.
6
Center for Brain Disorders and Cognitive Science, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China; Center for Language and Brain, Shenzhen Institute of Neuroscience, Shenzhen 518057, China. Electronic address: tanlh@szu.edu.cn.

Abstract

The human brain has been uniquely equipped with the remarkable ability to acquire more than one language, as in bilingual individuals. Previous neuroimaging studies have indicated that learning a second language (L2) induced neuroplasticity at the macrostructural level. In this study, using the quantitative MRI (qMRI) combined with functional MRI (fMRI) techniques, we quantified the microstructural properties and tested whether second language learning modulates the microstructure in the bilingual brain. We found significant microstructural variations related to age of acquisition of second language in the left inferior frontal region and the left fusiform gyrus that are crucial for resolving lexical competition of bilinguals' two languages. Early second language acquisition contributes to enhance cortical development at the microstructural level.

KEYWORDS:

Age of second language acquisition; Bilingualism; Lexical competition; Quantitative MRI

PMID:
31306932
DOI:
10.1016/j.bandl.2019.104654
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