Hemispheric asymmetries in bilinguals: Tongue similarity affects lateralization of second language.

Anita D'Anselmo (Corresponding author), Susanne Maria Reiterer, Francesca Zuccarini, Luca Tommasi, Alfredo Brancucci

    Publications: Contribution to journalArticlePeer Reviewed


    It is known that the left hemisphere of the human brain is critical in understanding and producing spoken language, but it remains a topic of great interest determining the cerebral lateralization of multiple languages. The aim of this study is to examine the effects of similarity between languages on hemispheric asymmetry of bilingual brains. The involvement degree of left and right hemisphere was examined during the processing of the first (L1) and second (L2) language in two different groups of bilinguals with English as L2. The first group consisted of German native speakers and the second group of Italian native speakers. Subjects from the two groups acquired L2 later in life (after the age of six) and had a comparable level of proficiency in second language comprehension. The functional lateralization was tested by a classical dichotic test with words in L1 and L2. Dependent variables were number of responses associated to words presented at the left vs. right ear and reaction time. Results showed a significant right ear advantage (REA) for number of responses in both languages and in both groups. However, the REA for L2 (English) processing was stronger in the German group. Reaction times were significantly lower during L1 processing and showed a trend towards the results obtained with the number of response variable. This study provides neuropsychological evidence pointing to a different lateralization pattern in the elaboration of a same L2 if L1 comes from different linguistic roots.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1187
    Number of pages1194
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013

    Austrian Fields of Science 2012

    • 301401 Brain research
    • 602008 English studies
    • 602040 Psycholinguistics
    • 501011 Cognitive psychology
    • 602036 Neurolinguistics


    Dive into the research topics of 'Hemispheric asymmetries in bilinguals: Tongue similarity affects lateralization of second language.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this