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Semantic and attentional networks in bilingual processing : fMRI connectivity signatures of translation directionality.

Zheng, Binghan and Báez, Sandra and Su, Li and Xiang, Xia and Weis, Susanne and Ibáñez, Agustín and García, Adolfo M. (2020) 'Semantic and attentional networks in bilingual processing : fMRI connectivity signatures of translation directionality.', Brain and cognition., 143 . p. 105584.


Comparisons between backward and forward translation (BT, FT) have long illuminated the organization of bilingual memory, with neuroscientific evidence indicating that FT would involve greater linguistic and attentional demands. However, no study has directly assessed the functional interaction between relevant mechanisms. Against this background, we conducted the first fMRI investigation of functional connectivity (FC) differences between BT and FT. In addition to yielding lower behavioral outcomes, FT was characterized by increased FC between a core semantic hub (the left anterior temporal lobe, ATL) and key nodes of attentional and vigilance networks (left inferior frontal, left orbitofrontal, and bilateral parietal clusters). Instead, distinct FC patterns for BT emerged only between the left ATL and the right thalamus, a region implicated in automatic relaying of sensory information to cortical regions. Therefore, FT seems to involve enhanced coupling between semantic and attentional mechanisms, suggesting that asymmetries in cross-language processing reflect dynamic interactions between linguistic and domain-general systems.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
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Publisher statement:© 2020 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:13 May 2020
Date deposited:15 May 2020
Date of first online publication:2020
Date first made open access:30 May 2021

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