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Poster A126

A longitudinal research of exploring neural mechanisms of morphological processing in the brains of young Chinese-English bilinguals

Poster Session A - Saturday, April 13, 2024, 2:30 – 4:30 pm EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Syuan-Yu Lin1, Shiou-Yuan Chen2, Li-Ying Fan3, Hsin-Chin Chen4, Wei-Hung Lin1, Tai-Li Chou1; 1National Taiwan University, 2University of Taipei, 3National Taipei University of Education, 4National Chung Cheng University

This longitudinal research aims to explore the long-term influence of bilingualism on children’s morphological processing. Since the brain utilizes the ventral pathway to process Chinese words and the dorsal pathway to process English words, bilingual children may develop unique neural patterns for the language transfer effect. Moreover, children begin to specialize in the temporal and frontal lobes when processing language at the age of 7 and utilize more specific brain regions by the age of 9, so it is crucial to conduct longitudinal research to discover the transfer effect across languages in bilinguals’ brains. We recruited 6-7 years old children, 43 Chinese-English bilinguals and 25 Chinese monolinguals, to conduct a morphological judgement task, using fNIRS (functional near-infrared spectroscopy). The subjects heard three words and decided which word shared the same compound root or derivational affix as the first word. After 2 years of bilingual education for bilinguals, both groups conducted the task again in 8-9 years old. The neuroimaging results showed that bilingual children developed the dorsal inferior frontal gyrus and the inferior parietal lobule to process Chinese compared to English. Furthermore, the bilingual group recruited more of the dorsal inferior frontal gyrus, the superior temporal gyrus, and the inferior parietal lobule when processing Chinese than monolinguals. Overall, the findings revealed the English to Chinese transfer effect, as the dorsal pathway was more activated in the process of Chinese in bilingual children, and that young bilinguals developed distinctive neural patterns for reading due to the long-term effect of bilingualism.

Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Development & aging


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April 13–16  |  2024