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Changes of Cortical Activation Patterns during Word Translation Associated with Improvement in Second Language Proficiency of Japanese-English learners

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Poster B39 in Poster Session B, Tuesday, October 24, 3:30 - 5:15 pm CEST, Espace Vieux-Port

Wakana Kawai1, Kiyomitsu Niioka1, Katsumasa Shinozuka1, Yasushi Kyutoku1, Ippeita Dan1; 1Chuo University

Different cortical activation patterns during word translation of Japanese-English learners with advanced between elementary English proficiency had been reported by Shinozuka et al. (2021). They examined the effect of translation direction (English-into-Japanese/Japanese-into-English) and word familiarity (high/low) on cortical activations with functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). The word translation task was used in the study. The word was visually presented on a monitor, and participants typed its translation equivalent with a keyboard. The most distinctly different cortical activation patterns between the proficiency levels appeared in the condition of Japanese-into-English/low-familiarity. There were significant activations in the left temporal regions including the superior temporal gyrus in the elementary group, while bilateral frontal regions including the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and the frontopolar area (FPA) were activated for in the advanced group. However, whether elementary learners exhibit the same cortical activation patterns as the advanced learners as they improve their second language proficiency remains unclear. The current study aimed to seek the changes of cortical activation patterns during word translation associated with the improvement of second language proficiency. We used the same task as Shinozuka et al. (2021), and measured cortical hemodynamics twice for each participant. We analyzed only the Japanese-into-English/low-familiarity condition. The study begun with 60 participants and 48 of them progressed to the second measurement taken approximately six months later. Finally, 22 right-handed participants (8 men and 14 women), Japanese-English learners, and improved their English proficiency, were included in the analysis. English proficiency was measured using TOEIC® scores (first measurement: mean:516±28, max:785, min:135) and their improvement were confirmed with a paired t-test [t(21)=4.61, p<.001, d=0.98]. A fNIRS device, ETG-4000 (Hitachi Corporation, Tokyo, Japan) was used for cortical hemodynamics measurement. The probe holder with 52 channels covered the prefrontal and temporal regions. Locations of each channel were converted to MNI space by probabilistic registration and were labeled for macroanatomy thereafter. For fNIRS data analysis, first, the oxy-Hb of the acquired data were preprocessed to remove noise and general linear model analyses were conducted to calculate beta-values, indicating degrees of activation. Next, one-sample t-tests (vs. 0) for the beta-values were conducted to obtain significantly activated channels. Bonferroni method was used for correcting family wise errors. Finally, the beta-values of significantly activated channels located at the same macroanatomical regions were averaged, and paired t-tests were conducted to examine differences of cortical activations between the two measurements. One-sample t-tests (v.s.0) revealed significant activation in the right pars triangularis Broca’s area (BA45) [ch35: t(21)=4.28, p<.001, d=0.91] in the first measurement, and the right DLPFC (BA9) [ch16: t(21)=4.00, p<.001, d=0.85] and FPA (BA10) [ch27: t(21)=4.01, p<.001, d=0.86, ch48: t(21)=4.07, p<.001, d=0.87] in the second measurement. A paired t-test in these regions revealed significant activation increase in the right DLPFC (BA9) [t(21)=2.17, p<.05, d=0.46]. There were no significant differences in the right Broca’s area [t(21)=-1.68, p=.11, d =-0.36], and the FPA [t(21)=2.03, p=.06, d=0.43]. Results may indicate that cortical activation patterns approached to be similar to advanced learners of Shinozuka et al.(2021) as they improved their second language proficiency.

Topic Areas: Multilingualism, Language Development/Acquisition

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