The Erp Components For Second Language Acquisition Essay

The Erp Components For Second Language Acquisition Essay

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For my literature review, I chose to examine the ERP components involved in second language acquisition. As a neuroscience major and a Spanish minor, the neural mechanisms involved in the acquisition of a second language is something that has interested me for quite some time. In a particular class I took last year, titled “The Acquisition of Language,” we examined several psychological and linguistic theories that attempted to describe the ways that individuals acquire a non-native language (L2). For this reason, I found three papers that examined different aspects of second language acquisition (method of learning, phonetic discrimination, and language switching) employing ERP measures. The search tool I used was Google Scholar, and I searched for “second language ERP” and “second language mismatch negativity.” Using these searches, I found several articles that used different ERPs to look at how the brain changes as a result of second language acquisition.
The first article, titled Explicit and Implicit Second Language Training Differentially Affect the Achievement of Native-like Brain Activation Patterns by Morgan-Short et al. examines the difference between explicit (classroom setting) and implicit (immersion) language learning on the N400 and P600 ERP component. The researchers trained two groups of participants to learn the artificial language (Brocanto2) using an explicit, grammatical based learning paradigm, or the implicit, immersion based learning paradigm. While previous studies have only employed behavioral measures, this study would use neural and behavioral measures to ascertain whether neural changes were happening. The reasoning behind this is that high L2 performance does not suggest that the speaker is using n...


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...wo English phonemes for the standard and deviant (/o/-/e/) and the other condition would use an English standard and non-English deviant (/o/-/ö/). We could then compare the mismatch negativity for these two groups, under the hypothesis that the MMN amplitude for the two English phonemes would be significantly larger than that in the non-English condition. ERP studies on second language acquisition provide us with insight on the neural changes that occur as individuals become more proficient in their L2. The primary challenges lie in the many confounding factors that accompany second language studies, primarily the individual differences in learning a language (i.e. age of acquisition, time learning, and setting). The ultimate goal of these language learning studies is to gain further insight into the various mechanisms that lead to native-like cognitive processing.

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