Previous studies have identified several brain regions that appear to be involved in the acquisition of novel word forms. Standard word-by-word presentation is often used although exposure to a new language normally occurs in a natural, real world situation. In the current experiment we investigated naturalistic language exposure and applied a model-free analysis for hemodynamic-response data. Functional connectivity, temporal correlations between hemodynamic activity of different areas, was assessed during rest before and after presentation of a movie of a weather report in Mandarin Chinese to Dutch participants. We hypothesized that learning of novel words might be associated with stronger functional connectivity of regions that are involved in phonological processing. Participants were divided into two groups, learners and non-learners, based on the scores on a post hoc word recognition task. The learners were able to recognize Chinese target words from the weather report, while the non-learners were not. In the first resting state period, before presentation of the movie, stronger functional connectivity was observed for the learners compared to the non-learners between the left supplementary motor area and the left precentral gyrus as well as the left insula and the left rolandic operculum, regions that are important for phonological rehearsal. After exposure to the weather report, functional connectivity between the left and right supramarginal gyrus was stronger for learners than for non-learners. This is consistent with a role of the left supramarginal gyrus in the storage of phonological forms. These results suggest both pre-existing and learning-induced differences between the two groups.
Bibliographical noteThe information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Linguistics and Phonetics (015010003), Humanities Lab (015101200)
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- General Language Studies and Linguistics
- resting state
- second language
- functional connectivity
- word learning