Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The brain’s involvement in language processing depends on language characteristics and graphic symbols

26.03.2012
A study that examined the division of labor between the two sides of the brain during the reading of different languages found that brain processing involvement in the decoding of Arabic was different to the involvement in reading Hebrew and English, which makes learning Arabic more challenging.

Readers whose mother tongue is Arabic have more challenges reading in Arabic than native Hebrew or English speakers have reading their native languages, because the two halves of the brain divide the labor differently when the brain processes Arabic than when it processes Hebrew or English.

That is the result of a new study conducted by two University of Haifa researchers, Dr. Raphiq Ibrahim of the Edmond J. Safra Brain Research Center for the Study of Learning Disabilities and the Learning Disabilities Department, and Prof. Zohar Eviatar of the Department of Psychology.

“It emerges that the contribution of the two halves of the brain to processing written language depends on the graphic and linguistic structure of these languages,” noted Dr. Ibrahim.

The two halves of the brain, called hemispheres, govern different types of activities: The right hemisphere specializes more in processing spatial tasks and the holistic (pattern) processing of messages, while the left hemisphere is responsible for processing verbal messages and local processing of messages.

In order to examine the interaction between the two hemispheres while reading Hebrew, English and Arabic, two experiments were conducted with subjects divided into three groups: those with Arabic as their mother tongue, those with English as their mother tongue and those with Hebrew as their mother tongue. Each group was tested in their native language.

In the first experiment, words and pseudowords (strings of letters that have no literal meaning) were presented on a screen, and the subjects were asked to figure out whether the stimulus was a real word; their response time, accuracy, and sensitivity were measured with every key pressed.

In the second experiment, the subjects were presented with various words on the right or the left side of the screen, which directs the information to be processed by the opposite hemisphere (i.e., when the proper or nonsense word is screened on the right side of the screen, it will be processed by the left side of the brain, and vice versa, a stage called “unilateral”). The various words were then shown on both sides of the screen, while under the target word there was a symbol that indicated that this was the word that they should treat, while the other stimulus appeared on the other side of the screen in order to distract the brain processing (this stage is called “bilateral”).

A comparison of both experiments establishes the degree of interaction between the two hemispheres during the brain’s processing of the language being checked.

The results show that for readers of Hebrew and English, both hemispheres of the brain are independently involved in the task of reading, such that neither side is dependent on the other. By contrast, for the Arabic readers, it emerged that the right hemisphere was not able to function independently in the reading assignments without using the resources of the left hemisphere.

According to Dr. Ibrahim, the significance of the findings is that despite the similarities between Arabic and Hebrew, when reading the former the right brain can’t function independently and the cognitive burden becomes especially heavy, making it more difficult to read the language, even for those whose mother tongue is Arabic.

“This proves that the Arabic language doesn’t behave like other languages when it comes to anything connected with decoding its graphic symbols,” said Dr. Ibrahim. “The study’s results show once again that on the word reading level the structural shape of Arabic orthography, that is, the graphic contours of the written language, activates the cognitive system differently. Thus, the question is again raised as to whether in the modern world those who speak certain languages have an advantage over those who speak other languages; and the role of pedagogy in improving reading skills among regular readers and those having difficulty is brought once again to the fore.”

To view the research paper, click on the link:
http://www.behavioralandbrainfunctions.com/content/8/1/3/abstract
For more information:
Rachel Feldman
Office: +972-4-8288722
Mobile: +972-54-3933092
Communications and Media Relations
University of Haifa
rfeldman@univ.haifa.ac.il

Rachel Feldman | University of Haifa
Further information:
http://www.haifa.ac.il

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Dissolving protein traffic jam at the entrance of mitochondria
23.05.2019 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Producing tissue and organs through lithography
23.05.2019 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The geometry of an electron determined for the first time

Physicists at the University of Basel are able to show for the first time how a single electron looks in an artificial atom. A newly developed method enables them to show the probability of an electron being present in a space. This allows improved control of electron spins, which could serve as the smallest information unit in a future quantum computer. The experiments were published in Physical Review Letters and the related theory in Physical Review B.

The spin of an electron is a promising candidate for use as the smallest information unit (qubit) of a quantum computer. Controlling and switching this spin or...

Im Focus: Self-repairing batteries

UTokyo engineers develop a way to create high-capacity long-life batteries

Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...

Im Focus: Quantum Cloud Computing with Self-Check

With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.

Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...

Im Focus: Accelerating quantum technologies with materials processing at the atomic scale

'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.

However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...

Im Focus: A step towards probabilistic computing

Working group led by physicist Professor Ulrich Nowak at the University of Konstanz, in collaboration with a team of physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, demonstrates how skyrmions can be used for the computer concepts of the future

When it comes to performing a calculation destined to arrive at an exact result, humans are hopelessly inferior to the computer. In other areas, humans are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Plumbene, graphene's latest cousin, realized on the 'nano water cube'

23.05.2019 | Materials Sciences

New flatland material: Physicists obtain quasi-2D gold

23.05.2019 | Materials Sciences

New Boost for ToCoTronics

23.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>