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Lecture 2

LING 3P61 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Twin Study, Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Dichotic Listening Test

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Lynn Dempsey

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Language is universal (every human society has a language except in extreme
circumstances) and it is actually difficult to suppress language
Two competing views
Left hemisphere is not specialized for language at birth. Both
hemispheres both control language initially
Language shifts to left hemisphere with maturation
Left hemisphere is specialized for language right from birth. Nothing
about lateralization varies with development
Evidence for lateralization comes from
Neuroimaging studies
Erp (event related potentials which involves electrical activity through the
FMRI looks at blood flow throughout brain when language task are
Molfese presented syllables, words and nonspeech sounds to infants
under ten months, children 4-11 and adults and recorded
electrophysiological activity
Results the proportion of left dominance was the same in each
age group
Right side was most active with non speech sounds
Dichotic listening
Speech stimuli are presented to two ears at the same time and then are
asked to report what they heard. Information in right ear is processed by
left hemisphere (contralateral pathways)
Children as young as two years have performed the same as adults in
that they report what was heard in right ear
Childhood aphasia
Determine site of damage and then test children language skills to see
what damage leads to what language loss
Woods and turner looked at 65 children with unilateral brain damage in
either the left or right hemisphere
Found that Aphasia almost always followed left hemisphere
damage and rarely followed right hemisphere damage
Brain injury
Looks at infants who suffered brain injury before language was acquired.
If left hemisphere is language, then those who suffered in right
hemisphere should have too much language loss
Prior to language acquisition a language delay will occur to either
The later Right hemisphere damage occurs the less language is affected
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