Complex brain network properties in late L2 learners and native speakers
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Whether the neural mechanisms that underlie the processing of a second language in highly proficient late bilinguals (L2 late learners) are similar or not to those that underlie the processing of the first language (L1) is still an issue under debate. In this study, a group of late learners of Spanish whose native language is English and a group of Spanish monolinguals were compared while they read sentences, some of which contained syntactic violations. A brain complex network analysis approach was used to assess the time-varying topological properties of the functional networks extracted from the electroencephalography (EEG) recording. Late L2 learners showed a lower degree of parallel information transfer and a slower propagation between regions of the brain functional networks while processing sentences containing a gender mismatch condition as compared with a standard sentence configuration. In contrast, no such differences between these conditions were detected in the Spanish monolinguals. This indicates that when a morphosyntactic language incongruence that does not exist in the native language is presented in the second language, the neural activation pattern is configured differently in highly proficient late bilinguals than in monolinguals.
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The authors thank to Eugenio Rodriguez and Mario Chavez for providing PLV analysis tools. Also thanks to Doug Davidson for his comments on the manuscript. A.P. was supported by a Marie Curie ITN LCG Grant PITN-GA-2009-237907 from the European Union. PB was supported by the Basal Funds for Centers of Excellence, Project FB 0003 from the Associative Research Program of CONICYT and the Project UCH1201 from Initial Teacher Training of MECESUP3. L.G.-P. was supported by CONSOLIDER-INGENIO2010 CSD2008-00048 Grant from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation. M.C. was partially supported by Grants CONSOLIDER-INGENIO2010 CSD2008-00048 from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation and by ERC-2011-ADG-295362 Grant from the European Research Council.
DOI: DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.01.021
Quote ItemNeuropsychologia 68 (2015) 209–217
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