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Learning a non-native language in a naturalistic environment: Insights from behavioural and neuroimaging research

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889196395 Year: Pages: 150 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-639-5 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Psychology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-08-16 10:34:25
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It is largely accepted in the relevant literature that successful learning of one or more non-native languages is affected by a number of factors that are independent of the target language(s) per se; these factors include the age of acquisition (AoA) of the target language(s), the type and amount of formal instruction the learners have received, as well as the amount of language use that the learners demonstrate. Recent experimental evidence suggests that one crucial factor for efficient native-like performance in the non-native language is the amount of naturalistic exposure, or immersion, that the learners receive to that language. This can be broadly defined as the degree to which language learners use their non-native language outside the classroom and for their day-to-day activities, and usually presupposes that the learners live in an environment where their non-native language is exclusively or mostly used. Existing literature has suggested that linguistic immersion can be beneficial for lexical and semantic acquisition in a non-native language, as well as for non-native morphological and syntactic processing. More recent evidence has also suggested that naturalistic learning of a non-native language can also have an impact on the patterns of brain activity underlying language processing, as well as on the structure of brain regions that are involved, expressed as changes in the grey matter structure. This Research Topic brings together studies on the effects of learning and speaking a non-native language in a naturalistic environment. These include more efficient or “native-like” processing in behavioural tasks tapping on language (lexicon, morphology, syntax), as well as changes in the brain structure and function, as revealed by neuroimaging studies.

Behavioral and physiological bases of attentional biases: Paradigms, participants, and stimuli

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889196401 Year: Pages: 96 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-640-1 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Psychology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-08-16 10:50:54
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Attentional biases (ABs) play a prominent role in the development and maintenance of clinically relevant symptoms of, for example, anxiety and depression. In particular, increased attentional orienting and preoccupation with biologically relevant and mood-congruent stimuli has been observed, suggesting that the visual-attentional system is overly sensitive towards threat cues and avoidant of cues of reward in these disorders. First, several experimental paradigms have been used to assess ABs, e.g., the dot probe task, the emotional stroop task, and the spatial cueing task amongst others. Yet, these paradigms are based on different theoretical backgrounds and target different stages of the attentional process. Thus, different paradigms provided converging as well as diverging evidence with regard to ABs. However, it is often not entirely clear to what extent this reflects real differences and commonalities, or is caused by differences in methodology. For example, behavioral reaction time data can only provide a snapshot of selective attention. Measuring event-related potentials, eye movements, or functional brain imaging data enables exploring the exact temporal and spatial dynamics of attentional processes. Moreover, neuroimaging data reveal specific cortical networks involved in directing attention toward a stimulus or disengaging from it. Second, ABs have been mainly discussed as symptoms of psychopathology, while results in healthy participants are still scarce; previous studies mostly compared extreme groups. However, a comprehensive theoretical and empirical account of ABs in psychopathology also requires a thorough account of ABs in the general healthy population. Moreover, the effect of gender, as an important contributing factor in processing of emotional stimuli, has also not been considered systematically in previous research. Third, a variety of stimuli has been used in the assessment of ABs. So far, mostly facial or word stimuli have been applied. However, in everyday life not only facial emotion recognition but also a fast evaluation of complex social situations is important to be effective in social interactions. Recent research started using more complex stimuli to raise ecological validity. However, the use of ecologically valid stimuli poses some methodological challenges and needs to be applied more systematically. The aim of this research topic is to integrate different paradigms and stimuli, addressing individuals from the whole range of the population continuum, and to apply different methodological approaches. It is intended to bring together expertise in stimulus selection, timing and implementing issues, advancing and broadening the overall understanding of ABs.

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