Neural Stimulation Has a Long-Term Effect on Foreign Vocabulary Acquisition

Achille Pasqualotto, Begüm Kobanbay, Michael J Proulx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (SciVal)
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Acquisition of a foreign language is a challenging task that is becoming increasingly more important in the world nowadays. There is evidence suggesting that the frontal and temporal cortices are involved in language processing and comprehension, but it is still unknown whether foreign language acquisition recruits additional cortical areas in a causal manner. For the first time, we used transcranial random noise stimulation on the frontal and parietal brain areas, in order to compare its effect on the acquisition of unknown foreign words and a sham, or placebo, condition was also included. This type of noninvasive neural stimulation enhances cortical activity by boosting the spontaneous activity of neurons. Foreign vocabulary acquisition was tested both immediately and seven days after the stimulation. We found that stimulation on the posterior parietal, but not the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex or sham stimulation, significantly improved the memory performance in the long term. These results suggest that the posterior parietal cortex is directly involved in acquisition of foreign vocabulary, thus extending the "linguistic network" to this area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671705
JournalNeural Plasticity
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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