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Cortical motor systems are involved in second-language comprehension : Evidence from rapid mu-rhythm desynchronisation.

Vukovic, Nikola and Shtyrov, Yury LU (2014) In NeuroImage 102(2). p.695-703
Abstract
Understanding neurocognitive mechanisms supporting the use of multiple languages is a key question in language science. Recent neuroimaging studies in monolinguals indicated that core language areas in human neocortex together with sensorimotor structures form a highly interactive system underpinning native language comprehension. While the experience of a native speaker promotes the establishment of strong action-perception links in the comprehension network, this may not necessarily be the case for L2 where, as it has been argued, the most a typical L2 speaker may get is a link between an L2 wordform and its L1 translation equivalent. Therefore, we investigated, whether the motor cortex of bilingual subjects shows differential... (More)
Understanding neurocognitive mechanisms supporting the use of multiple languages is a key question in language science. Recent neuroimaging studies in monolinguals indicated that core language areas in human neocortex together with sensorimotor structures form a highly interactive system underpinning native language comprehension. While the experience of a native speaker promotes the establishment of strong action-perception links in the comprehension network, this may not necessarily be the case for L2 where, as it has been argued, the most a typical L2 speaker may get is a link between an L2 wordform and its L1 translation equivalent. Therefore, we investigated, whether the motor cortex of bilingual subjects shows differential involvement in processing action semantics of native and non-native words. We used high-density EEG to dynamically measure changes in the cortical motor system's activity, indexed by event-related desynchronisation (ERD) of the mu-rhythm, in response to passively reading L1 (German) and L2 (English) action words. Analysis of motor-related EEG oscillations at the sensor level revealed an early (starting ~150ms) and left-lateralised coupling between action and semantics during both L1 and L2 processing. Crucially, source-level activation in the motor areas showed that mu-rhythm ERD, while present for both languages, is significantly stronger for L1 words. This is the first neurophysiological evidence of rapid motor-cortex involvement during L2 action-semantic processing. Our results both strengthen embodied cognition evidence obtained previously in monolinguals and, at the same time, reveal important quantitative differences between L1 and L2 sensorimotor brain activity in language comprehension. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
NeuroImage
volume
102
issue
2
pages
695 - 703
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • pmid:25175538
  • wos:000345391700043
  • scopus:84907160933
ISSN
1095-9572
DOI
10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.08.039
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
cfc71503-f11b-49b2-9365-e8148c16ad36 (old id 4692803)
date added to LUP
2014-10-03 14:43:27
date last changed
2017-10-01 03:03:32
@article{cfc71503-f11b-49b2-9365-e8148c16ad36,
  abstract     = {Understanding neurocognitive mechanisms supporting the use of multiple languages is a key question in language science. Recent neuroimaging studies in monolinguals indicated that core language areas in human neocortex together with sensorimotor structures form a highly interactive system underpinning native language comprehension. While the experience of a native speaker promotes the establishment of strong action-perception links in the comprehension network, this may not necessarily be the case for L2 where, as it has been argued, the most a typical L2 speaker may get is a link between an L2 wordform and its L1 translation equivalent. Therefore, we investigated, whether the motor cortex of bilingual subjects shows differential involvement in processing action semantics of native and non-native words. We used high-density EEG to dynamically measure changes in the cortical motor system's activity, indexed by event-related desynchronisation (ERD) of the mu-rhythm, in response to passively reading L1 (German) and L2 (English) action words. Analysis of motor-related EEG oscillations at the sensor level revealed an early (starting ~150ms) and left-lateralised coupling between action and semantics during both L1 and L2 processing. Crucially, source-level activation in the motor areas showed that mu-rhythm ERD, while present for both languages, is significantly stronger for L1 words. This is the first neurophysiological evidence of rapid motor-cortex involvement during L2 action-semantic processing. Our results both strengthen embodied cognition evidence obtained previously in monolinguals and, at the same time, reveal important quantitative differences between L1 and L2 sensorimotor brain activity in language comprehension.},
  author       = {Vukovic, Nikola and Shtyrov, Yury},
  issn         = {1095-9572},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {695--703},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {NeuroImage},
  title        = {Cortical motor systems are involved in second-language comprehension : Evidence from rapid mu-rhythm desynchronisation.},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.08.039},
  volume       = {102},
  year         = {2014},
}