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Permanent URL to this publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-20037

Stein, M; Federspiel, A; Koenig, T; Wirth, M; Lehmann, C; Wiest, R; Strik, W; Brandeis, D; Dierks, T (2009). Reduced frontal activation with increasing 2nd language proficiency. Neuropsychologia, 47(13):2712-2720.

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The factors influencing the degree of separation or overlap in the neuronal networks responsible for the processing of first and second language are still subject to investigation. This longitudinal study investigates how increasing second language proficiency influences activation differences during lexico-semantic processing of first and second language. Native English speaking exchange students learning German were examined with functional magnetic resonance imaging while reading words in three different languages at two points in time: at the beginning of their stay (day1) and 5 months later (day2), when second language proficiency had significantly increased. On day1, second language words evoked more frontal activation than words from the mother tongue. These differences were diminished on day2. We therefore conclude that with increasing second language proficiency, lexico-semantic processing of second language words needs less frontal control. Our results demonstrate that lexico-semantic processing of first and second language converges onto similar networks as second language proficiency increases.


24 citations in Web of Science®
25 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Date:6 June 2009
Deposited On:04 Aug 2009 08:46
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:18
Publisher DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2009.05.023
PubMed ID:19501603

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