Structural plasticity of the left caudate in bimodal bilinguals

Lijuan Zou, Guosheng Ding, Jubin Abutalebi, Hua Shu, Danling Peng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Bilinguals need an effective neural mechanism to select and control their languages for successful communication. Recent evidence indicates that the left caudate nucleus (LCN) is a critical part of this mechanism. Here we show that bimodal bilinguals, who use spoken and sign languages, have greater grey matter volume (GMV) in the head of the LCN as compared to monolinguals. We also found higher functional activation of this region in bimodal bilinguals when they switched between sign language and spoken language compared to when they did not switch languages. Furthermore, GMV was positively correlated with the magnitude of the switching effect in the head of the LCN. These findings indicate that for bimodal bilinguals, the LCN is shaped by bilingualism both anatomically and functionally.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1197-1206
Number of pages10
JournalCortex
Volume48
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012

Keywords

  • FMRI
  • Grey matter volume
  • Language production
  • The left caudate nucleus
  • Voxel-based morphometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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