Where, when and why brain activation differs for bilinguals and monolinguals during picture naming and reading aloud

Oiwi Parker Jones, David W. Green, Alice Grogan, Christos Pliatsikas, Konstantinos Filippopolitis, Nilufa Ali, Hwee Ling Lee, Sue Ramsden, Karine Gazarian, Susan Prejawa, Mohamed L. Seghier, Cathy J. Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations

Abstract

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we found that when bilinguals named pictures or read words aloud, in their native or nonnative language, activation was higher relative to monolinguals in 5 left hemisphere regions: dorsal precentral gyrus, pars triangularis, pars opercularis, superior temporal gyrus, and planum temporale. We further demonstrate that these areas are sensitive to increasing demands on speech production in monolinguals. This suggests that the advantage of being bilingual comes at the expense of increased work in brain areas that support monolingual word processing. By comparing the effect of bilingualism across a range of tasks, we argue that activation is higher in bilinguals compared with monolinguals because word retrieval is more demanding; articulation of each word is less rehearsed; and speech output needs careful monitoring to avoid errors when competition for word selection occurs between, as well as within, language.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)892-902
Number of pages11
JournalCerebral Cortex
Volume22
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2012

Keywords

  • bilingualism
  • control
  • fMRI
  • frequency
  • picture naming
  • reading

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