Discipline: Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences
Subcategory: Social Sciences/Psychology/Economics
Cary Junior II - Bethany Sussman and Fan Cao, Michigan State University, East Lansing
Co-Author(s): Bethany Sussman and Fan Cao, Michigan State University, East Lansing
When assessing language acquisition, phonological processing has proven to be very important in language skills development. Phonological awareness (PA) has shown to be a transferable skill between the Chinese, Spanish, French, and English languages (Cisero & Royer, 1995; Lafrance & Gottardo 2005; Luo, Chen, & Geva 2014). Rapid automatic naming (RAN) is used to measure word processing speed and is shown to be predictive of Spanish language reading skills (Clinton, 2001). These relationships between PA and RAN and their relationship to reading skills spark investigation into each language skill’s ability to predict brain activity when studying a particular language. We investigated whether PA and RAN predict brain activation during Chinese and Spanish language tasks in native English speakers and if either skill shows bias toward one particular language. It is hypothesized that PA is associated with the brain activity during the both Chinese and Spanish tasks and RAN is associated with the Spanish language tasks. Eight subjects aged 18-24 are preassessed and then underwent a 10-day training where they are taught 144 words (72 Chinese, 72 Spanish). After the training, the subjects, during fMRI performed sound and meaning judgment tasks on the learned words in each language. A correlation analysis was run to assess the relationship between PA and RAN, and the brain activation. A significant association was found between PA and the Chinese Meaning task in the anterior temporal lobe (z = 4.30, 4.30; p < .001). No association was found between PA and Chinese sound or either of the Spanish tasks. Only the Spanish tasks had an association with RAN. The meaning task was significant (z = 3.96, p < .001) in the fusiform gyrus, and the sound task showed significant findings (z = 5.19, 3.50; p < .001) in the anterior cerebellum. These results are consistent with previous research on RAN and Spanish reading skills (Clinton, 2001). The PA findings suggest different results than previous in regards to transferability of PA across languages (Cisero & Royer, 1995; Lafrance & Gottardo 2005; Luo, Chen, & Geva 2014). We find here that PA is transferable to the Chinese language, and RAN to the Spanish language. This can be used to target each skills development when acquiring the corresponding language.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): Michigan State University Graduate School
Faculty Advisor: Bethany Sussman,