ERIC Number: EJ893135
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 44
Neural Correlates of High Performance in Foreign Language Vocabulary Learning
Macedonia, Manuela; Muller, Karsten; Friederici, Angela D.
Mind, Brain, and Education, v4 n3 p125-134 Sep 2010
Learning vocabulary in a foreign language is a laborious task which people perform with varying levels of success. Here, we investigated the neural underpinning of high performance on this task. In a within-subjects paradigm, participants learned 92 vocabulary items under two multimodal conditions: one condition paired novel words with iconic gestures and the other with meaningless gestures. Memory performance was assessed through single-word translation tests. High performers consistently learned more items than low performers, regardless of the training condition, the time, and the difficulty of the task. Brain activity measured upon word recognition using functional magnetic resonance imaging was parametrically related to the behavioral data. High performance correlated with activity in the left angular gyrus (BA 39) and in the right extrastriate cortex (BA 19). These cortical areas mediate integration of information across different modalities as well as memory processes. Thus, high performance in vocabulary learning seems to depend on individual capacities to integrate and associate a word's semantics with sensorial stimuli. This may have important implications for education.
Descriptors: Semantics, Word Recognition, Memory, Memorization, Brain, Vocabulary Development, Second Language Learning, Neurological Organization, Novelty (Stimulus Dimension), Visual Stimuli, Diagnostic Tests, Brain Hemisphere Functions
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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