The neural basis of language talent in bilinguals

Trends Cogn Sci. 2005 May;9(5):211-3. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2005.03.001.


In a recent paper, Chee et al. report differences in the patterns of brain activation and deactivation in bilinguals with different levels of proficiency in their second language. Most intriguingly, this research addressed the issue of the neural basis of phonological working memory (PWM), which is crucial in language acquisition, in subjects who were under comparable social pressure to be bilinguals. The results led the authors to suggest that a more readily available working memory system might correlate with the attainment of superior proficiency in a second language.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods
  • Humans
  • Language Development*
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology
  • Multilingualism*
  • Phonetics