Bilingualism Tunes the Anterior Cingulate Cortex for Conflict Monitoring. Monitoring and controlling 2 language systems is fundamental to language use in bilinguals. Here, we reveal in a combined functional (event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging) and structural neuroimaging (voxel-based morphometry) study that dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a structure tightly bound to domain-general executive control functions, is a common locus for language control and resolving nonverbal conflict. We also show an experience-dependent effect in the same region: Bilinguals use this structure more efficiently than monolinguals to monitor nonlinguistic cognitive conflicts. They adapted better to
conflicting situations showing less ACC activity while outperforming monolinguals. Importantly, for bilinguals, brain activity in the ACC, as well as behavioral measures, also correlated positively with local gray matter volume. These results suggest that early learning and lifelong practice of 2 languages exert a strong impact upon human neocortical development. The bilingual brain adapts better to resolve cognitive conflicts in domain-general cognitive tasks. – Prof. Jubin Abutalebi, is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Psychology, University Vita Salute San Raffaele, Milan, Italy.He graduated with Summa cum Laude at the University of Brescia Medical School in 1998, and specialized with Summa Cum Laude in Neurology at the University Vita Salute San Raffaele in 2003. His main research activities focus on the cerebral architecture underlying cognitive functions in brain-damaged and normal healthy populations by employing functional neuroimaging techniques. His research has contributed to enlighten the cerebral basis of bilingualisms and the neural mechanism of language recovery in aphasics. He is co-editor of two books that appeared in January 2008 (“Neuropsychological Research: A review”; Psychology Press; and
“Cognitive Neurology”; Oxford University Press). – San Raffaele International MD Program – Preparing the doctors of tomorrow’s world. The International MD Program at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University has been designed to foster a new kind of doctor. This doctor will possess the necessary human, cultural and professional values to provide healthcare and share ideas in today’s globalized world. Sources: Oxford Journals, Life Sciences, Medicine Cerebral Cortex & Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy. ~ Bilingualism; Historically, bilingualism was thought to be detrimental to a child’s cognitive and linguistic abilities. However, more recent evidence suggests that bilingualism can actually bestow a set of cognitive benefits, and it may enhance literacy. When a child is fluent in two languages, they know more than one word for the same object or concept. Current research leads to the belief that this can add to the cognitive flexibility of the child. The different connotations and ideas around a word has in the different languages the child knows allows the child to build a more complex understanding of the word at a younger age.Cognitive ability;Bilinguals who are highly proficient in two or more languages are reported to have enhanced executive function, different organization in some cortical areas, and are better at some aspects of language learning compared to monolinguals. G.N.
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