The effects of bilingualism on the white matter structure of the brain

Pliatsikas, Christos, Moschopoulou, Elisavet, Saddy, James Douglas (2015) The effects of bilingualism on the white matter structure of the brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112 (5). pp. 1-4. ISSN 0027-8424. (doi:10.1073/pnas.1414183112) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Abstract

Recent studies suggest that learning and using a second language (L2) can affect brain structure, including the structure of white matter (WM) tracts. This observation comes from research looking at early and older bilingual individuals who have been using both their first and second languages on an everyday basis for many years. This study investigated whether young, highly immersed late bilinguals would also show structural effects in the WM that can be attributed to everyday L2 use, irrespective of critical periods or the length of L2 learning. Our Tract-Based Spatial Statistics analysis revealed higher fractional anisotropy values for bilinguals vs. monolinguals in several WM tracts that have been linked to language processing and in a pattern closely resembling the results reported for older and early bilinguals. We propose that learning and actively using an L2 after childhood can have rapid dynamic effects on WM structure, which in turn may assist in preserving WM integrity in older age

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1073/pnas.1414183112
Uncontrolled keywords: bilingualism, immersion, white matter, second language acquisition, TBSS
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
Depositing User: Christos Pliatsikas
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2015 21:03 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 14:04 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/46635 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Pliatsikas, Christos: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7093-1773
Saddy, James Douglas: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8501-6076
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