Abstract: BOLD fMRI is often used for the study of human language. However, there are still very few attempts to conduct longitudinal fMRI studies in the study of language acquisition by measuring auditory comprehension and reading. The following paper is the first in a series concerning a unique longitudinal study devoted to the analysis of bi- and multilingual subjects who are: (1) already proficient in at least two languages; or (2) are acquiring Russian as a second/third language. The focus of the current analysis is to present data from the auditory sections of a set of three scans acquired from April, 2011 through April, 2012 on a five-person subject pool who are learning Russian during the study. All subjects were scanned using the same protocol for auditory comprehension on the same General Electric LX 3T Signa scanner in Duke University Hospital. Using a multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) for statistical analysis, proficiency measurements are shown to correlate significantly with scan results in the Russian conditions over time. The importance of both the left and right hemispheres in language processing is discussed. Special attention is devoted to the importance of contextualizing imaging data with corresponding behavioral and empirical testing data using a multivariate analysis of variance. This is the only study to date that includes: (1) longitudinal fMRI data with subject-based proficiency and behavioral data acquired in the same time frame; and (2) statistical modeling that demonstrates the importance of covariate language proficiency data for understanding imaging results of language acquisition.
Keywords: language; fMRI; multilingualism; second language acquisition; longitudinal studies of language acquisition; proficiency; neurolinguistics; MANCOVA; the Russian language
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Andrews, E.; Frigau, L.; Voyvodic-Casabo, C.; Voyvodic, J.; Wright, J. Multilingualism and fMRI: Longitudinal Study of Second Language Acquisition. Brain Sci. 2013, 3, 849-876.
Andrews E, Frigau L, Voyvodic-Casabo C, Voyvodic J, Wright J. Multilingualism and fMRI: Longitudinal Study of Second Language Acquisition. Brain Sciences. 2013; 3(2):849-876.
Andrews, Edna; Frigau, Luca; Voyvodic-Casabo, Clara; Voyvodic, James; Wright, John. 2013. "Multilingualism and fMRI: Longitudinal Study of Second Language Acquisition." Brain Sci. 3, no. 2: 849-876.