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What makes written words so special to the brain

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889193790 Year: Pages: 267 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-379-0 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-12-03 13:02:24
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Reading is an integral part of life in today's information-driven societies. Since the pioneering work of Dejerine on "word blindness" in brain-lesioned patients, the literature has increased exponentially, from neuropsychological case reports to mechanistic accounts of word processing at the behavioural, neurofunctional and computational levels, tapping into diverse aspects of visual word processing. These studies have revealed some exciting findings about visual word processing, including how the brain learns to read, how changes in literacy impact upon word processing strategies, and whether word processing mechanisms vary across different alphabetic, logographic or artificial writing systems. Other studies have attempted to characterise typical and atypical word processes in special populations in order to explain why dyslexic brains struggle with words, how multilingualism changes the way our brains see words, and what the exact developmental signatures are that would shape the acquisition of reading skills. Exciting new insights have also emerged from recent studies that have investigated word stimuli at the system/network level, by looking for instance, at how the reading system interacts with other cognitive systems in a context-dependent fashion, how visual language stimuli are integrated into the speech processing streams, how both left and right hemispheres cooperate and interact during word processing, and what the exact contributions of subcortical and cerebellar regions to reading are. The contributions to this Research Topic highlight the latest findings regarding the different issues mentioned above, particularly how these findings can explain or model the different processes, mechanisms, pathways or cognitive strategies by which the human brain sees words. The introductory editorial, summarising the contributions included here, highlights how varieties of behavioural tests and neuroimaging techniques can be used to investigate word processing mechanisms across different alphabetic and logographic writing systems.

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.

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Multilingualism

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889195183 Year: Pages: 89 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-518-3 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-12-10 11:59:06
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This research topic stems from the "Interdisciplinary Approaches to Multilingualism" conference, which was hosted by the Language Research Centre at the University of Calgary. It was the first conference of its kind, which brought together the work of researchers, educators, and policy makers in the areas of first and second language acquisition from psycholinguistic and pedagogical perspectives. The goal was to provide an opportunity for participants to engage with the implications of multilingualism from a range of perspectives, including the effects of being bilingual from infancy to adulthood, the process and benefits of learning multiple languages, and the impact of multilingualism on society.

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