Second language lexical development and cognitive control: A longitudinal fMRI study

A.M. Grant, S.-Y. Fang, Ping Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015 Elsevier Inc.In this paper we report a longitudinal functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study that tested contrasting predictions about the time course of cognitive control in second language (L2) acquisition. We examined the neural correlates of lexical processing in L2 learners twice over the course of one academic year. Specifically, while in the scanner, participants were asked to judge the language membership of unambiguous first and second language words, as well as interlingual homographs. Our ROI and connectivity analyses reveal that with increased exposure to the L2, overall activation in control areas such as the anterior cingulate cortex decrease while connectivity with semantic processing regions such as the middle temporal gyrus increase. These results suggest that cognitive control is more important initially in L2 acquisition, and have significant implications for understanding developmental and neurocognitive models of second language lexical processing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-47
Number of pages13
JournalBrain and Language
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Executive function
  • FMRI
  • Longitudinal design
  • Second language acquisition
  • Vocabulary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Speech and Hearing


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