Neurocognitive Mechanisms of Bilingual and Multilingual Acquisition and Processing

A special issue of Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425). This special issue belongs to the section "Neurolinguistics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 January 2024) | Viewed by 4543

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of English, Hong Kong Shue Yan University, Hong Kong SAR, China
Interests: second language acquisition; psycholinguistics and cognitive science; language aptitude; working memory; individual differences; task-based language teaching; cognitive translation/interpreting studies; translanguaging
School of International Studies, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China
Interests: psycholinguistics; neurolinguistics; brain imaging; neural networks; second language acquisition; bilingualism and multilingualism; implicit/explicit learning

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Currently, the number of bilingual/multilingual speakers far outweighs the number of monolingual speakers. The ability to speak more than one language is a norm rather than an exception. Although extensive research in multiple disciplines has investigated how bilingual/multilingual speakers come to learn and master multiple languages, the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying the representation, control, and use of these multiple languages remain unclear. In this special issue, we are cordially inviting all interested scholars from the broad fields of applied linguistics, psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, cognitive science and neuroscience, experimental psychology, educational psychology, brain imaging, and computational modeling to concert efforts to investigate the neurocognitive mechanisms and their structure and function in the learning and processing of second and foreign languages under different learning conditions and contexts. We particularly welcome contributions addressing the cognitive individual differences (e.g., working memory, attention control, executive functions, cognitive load, language aptitude, implicit/statistical learning, chunking, etc.) in second language acquisition and processing from multidisciplinary perspectives.

Dr. Zhisheng Edward Wen
Dr. Jing Yang
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • second language acquisition
  • multilingual talents
  • language aptitude
  • polyglots
  • working memory
  • attention control
  • executive functions
  • chunking
  • language neural networks
  • implicit and statistical learning

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

22 pages, 2216 KiB  
Article
Multilingual Language Diversity Protects Native Language Production under Different Control Demands
by Keyi Kang, Yumeng Xiao, Hanxiang Yu, Michele T. Diaz and Haoyun Zhang
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(11), 1587; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13111587 - 13 Nov 2023
Viewed by 939
Abstract
The use of multiple languages has been found to influence individuals’ cognitive abilities. Although some studies have also investigated the effect of multilingualism on non-native language proficiency, fewer studies have focused on how multilingual experience affects native language production. This study investigated the [...] Read more.
The use of multiple languages has been found to influence individuals’ cognitive abilities. Although some studies have also investigated the effect of multilingualism on non-native language proficiency, fewer studies have focused on how multilingual experience affects native language production. This study investigated the effect of multilingualism on native language production, specifically examining control demands through a semantic Go/No-Go picture naming task. The multilingual experience was quantified using language entropy, which measures the uncertainty and diversity of language use. Control demands were achieved by manipulating the proportion of Go (i.e., naming) trials in different conditions. Results showed that as control demands increased, multilingual individuals exhibited poorer behavioral performance and greater brain activation throughout the brain. Moreover, more diverse language use was associated with higher accuracy in naming and more interconnected brain networks with greater involvement of domain-general neural resources and less domain-specific neural resources. Notably, the varied and balanced use of multiple languages enabled multilingual individuals to respond more efficiently to increased task demands during native language production. Full article
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13 pages, 2502 KiB  
Article
Language Nativeness Modulates Physiological Responses to Moral vs. Immoral Concepts in Chinese–English Bilinguals: Evidence from Event-Related Potential and Psychophysiological Measures
by Fei Gao, Chenggang Wu, Hengyi Fu, Kunyu Xu and Zhen Yuan
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(11), 1543; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13111543 - 02 Nov 2023
Viewed by 891
Abstract
Morality has been an integral part of social cognition and our daily life, and different languages may exert distinct impacts on human moral judgment. However, it remains unclear how moral concept is encoded in the bilingual brain. This study, therefore, aimed to explore [...] Read more.
Morality has been an integral part of social cognition and our daily life, and different languages may exert distinct impacts on human moral judgment. However, it remains unclear how moral concept is encoded in the bilingual brain. This study, therefore, aimed to explore the emotional and cognitive involvement of bilingual morality judgement by using combined event-related potential (ERP) and psychophysiological (including skin, heart, and pulse) measures. In the experiment, thirty-one Chinese–English bilingual participants were asked to make moral judgments in Chinese and English, respectively. Our results revealed increased early frontal N400 and decreased LPC in L1 moral concept encoding as compared to L2, suggesting that L1 was more reliant on automatic processes and emotions yet less on elaboration. In contrast, L2 moral and immoral concepts elicited enhanced LPC, decreased N400, and greater automatic psychophysiological electrocardiograph responses, which might reflect more elaborate processing despite blunted emotional responses and increased anxiety. Additionally, both behavioral and P200 data revealed a reliable immorality bias across languages. Our results were discussed in light of the dual-process framework of moral judgments and the (dis)embodiment of bilingual processing, which may advance our understanding of the interplay between language and morality as well as between emotion and cognition. Full article
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16 pages, 1359 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Interpreting Training Experience on the Attentional Networks and Their Dynamics
by Shunjie Xing and Jing Yang
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(9), 1306; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13091306 - 11 Sep 2023
Viewed by 811
Abstract
Interpreting, a complicated and demanding bilingual task, depends heavily on attentional control. However, few studies have focused on the interpreters’ advantages in attention, and the findings so far have been inconsistent. Meanwhile, the connection between attentional networks and other cognitive abilities, such as [...] Read more.
Interpreting, a complicated and demanding bilingual task, depends heavily on attentional control. However, few studies have focused on the interpreters’ advantages in attention, and the findings so far have been inconsistent. Meanwhile, the connection between attentional networks and other cognitive abilities, such as working memory (WM), has rarely been explored in interpreters. The present study investigated whether interpreting experience (IE) contributed to the attentional networks of bilinguals and explored the link between interpreters’ attention and WM. Three groups of Chinese–English bilinguals, differing only in their duration of interpreting training (the More-IE group, the Less-IE group, and the No-IE group), completed the Attention Network Test (ANT). Results showed that only the alerting network was more efficient in the More-IE group than in the Less-IE and No-IE groups; moreover, the dynamics between the alerting and executive networks were significant only in the More-IE group. Furthermore, we found a negative correlation between the executive effect and the working memory capacity (WMC) in the More-IE group. Our study validated and provided empirical support for the Attentional Control Model, stimulating further research into neurocognitive mechanisms of advanced second language learning. Full article
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12 pages, 1908 KiB  
Article
Age of Bilingual Onset Shapes the Dynamics of Functional Connectivity and Laterality in the Resting-State
by Yucen Sheng, Songyu Yang, Juan Rao, Qin Zhang, Jialong Li, Dianjian Wang and Weihao Zheng
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(9), 1231; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13091231 - 23 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1074
Abstract
Bilingualism is known to enhance cognitive function and flexibility of the brain. However, it is not clear how bilingual experience affects the time-varying functional network and whether these changes depend on the age of bilingual onset. This study intended to investigate the bilingual-related [...] Read more.
Bilingualism is known to enhance cognitive function and flexibility of the brain. However, it is not clear how bilingual experience affects the time-varying functional network and whether these changes depend on the age of bilingual onset. This study intended to investigate the bilingual-related dynamic functional connectivity (dFC) based on the resting-state functional magnetic resonance images, including 23 early bilinguals (EBs), 30 late bilinguals (LBs), and 31 English monolinguals. The analysis identified two dFC states, and LBs showed more transitions between these states than monolinguals. Moreover, more frequent left–right switches were found in functional laterality in prefrontal, lateral temporal, lateral occipital, and inferior parietal cortices in EBs compared with LB and monolingual cohorts, and the laterality changes in the anterior superior temporal cortex were negatively correlated with L2 proficiency. These findings highlight how the age of L2 acquisition affects cortico-cortical dFC pattern and provide insight into the neural mechanisms of bilingualism. Full article
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