The language we learn growing up seems to leave a lasting, biological imprint on our brains.
German and Arabic native speakers have different connection strengths in specific parts of the brain’s language circuit, researchers report February 19 in NeuroImage, hinting that the cognitive demands of our native languages physically shape the brain. The new study, based on nearly 100 brain scans, is one of the first in which scientists have identified these kinds of structural wiring differences in a large group of monolingual adults.
“The specific difficulties [of each language] leave distinct traces in the brain,” says neuroscientist Alfred Anwander of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany. “So we are not the same if we learn to speak one language, or if we learn another.” [Continue reading…]