CDC seminar series: Prof. Debra L Mills, PhD, School of Psychology, Bangor University - Brain activity and early word recognition in monolingual and bilingual infants
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Brain activity and early word recognition in monolingual and bilingual infants
The first few years of life are characterised by marked changes in the ability to perceive, understand, and produce language. Until recently, very little was known about changes in the brain that preceded, accompanied, or followed the attainment of component skills for different aspects of language acquisition referred to as language milestones. Advances in using cognitive neuroscience methods with infants have contributed significantly to our understanding of how learning one or two languages affects brain and language development. Studies of monolingual infants as they develop and attain new language milestones, provide the opportunity to link changes in proficiency with concomitant changes in the organization of brain function. Studies of bilingual infants, learning two native languages simultaneously, provide a unique opportunity to study the effects of relative proficiency in the same developing brain. We consider research using event-related potentials (ERPs) to study different aspects of language development including phonology, working memory, word recognition and meaning in monolingual and bilingual infants and adults. The findings stress the need to consider the process of building a vocabulary as a dynamic and interactive process in shaping the organization of the brain for language.