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Learning language laterality and the motor system
Seventeenth Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, A93
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Is language laterality inborn or a consequence of learning? Our data show that learning, specifically the binding of sound Information to articulatory patterns, plays an important role. Right-handed monolingual subjects learned spoken phonologically regular nonsense words over several sessions and EEG brain responses were recorded for new and learned items. In a perceptual learning condition, subjects were asked to listen to the nonsense words and in an articulatory learning condition, subjects were required to repeat each nonsense word after presentation. After learning, brain responses were enhanced to learned words as compared with new, not previously encountered ones. The degree of enhancement was similar in both learning conditions, but was left-lateralized only in the articulatory learning condition. Source localization indicated early (220 ms) co-activation of superior-temporal and precentral cortical sources when words learned in the articulatory task were recognized. Superior-temporal but no motor systems activation was seen for items learned in the passive perceptual learning task. Our results suggest that language laterality can be learned and that auditory-articulatory links, reflected in superiortemporal-prefrontal coactivation, are critical for learning language laterality.