Global Excellence Lecture by Alexis Hervais-Adelman.

Title: "fMRI of Simultaneous Interpretation Reveals Brain Networks of Extreme Language Control"

Abstract: A multilingual brain must constantly select the appropriate language for production and comprehension as a function of linguistic context. Behavioural and neuroimaging evidence strongly suggest that the neural mechanisms of language control intersect with those of domain-general cognitive control. Here we use fMRI to examine the neural correlates of simultaneous interpretation, arguably one of the most complex linguistic tasks that exists. Our results demonstrate that the demands of processing an input and output stream in two different languages recruit the dorsal striatum, pre-supplementary motor area, cerebellum and inferior frontal cortex. These regions are generally associated with inhibitory control and response selection, and these results provide circumstantial evidence to support the notion that language control and executive control depend upon overlapping networks. A longitudinal follow-up study demonstrates that intensive interpretation training (over 15 months) reduces the engagement of the right caudate nucleus during interpreting. This  provides direct evidence that learning to interpret tunes structures central to cognitive- and language-control.



Mon, 10. November 2014 14:00