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 Turning carbon dioxide into liquid fuel
06.08.2020 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

nachricht Tellurium makes the difference
06.08.2020 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: ScanCut project completed: laser cutting enables more intricate plug connector designs

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT have come up with a striking new addition to contact stamping technologies in the ERDF research project ScanCut. In collaboration with industry partners from North Rhine-Westphalia, the Aachen-based team of researchers developed a hybrid manufacturing process for the laser cutting of thin-walled metal strips. This new process makes it possible to fabricate even the tiniest details of contact parts in an eco-friendly, high-precision and efficient manner.

Plug connectors are tiny and, at first glance, unremarkable – yet modern vehicles would be unable to function without them. Several thousand plug connectors...

Im Focus: New Strategy Against Osteoporosis

An international research team has found a new approach that may be able to reduce bone loss in osteoporosis and maintain bone health.

Osteoporosis is the most common age-related bone disease which affects hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. It is estimated that one in three women...

Im Focus: AI & single-cell genomics

New software predicts cell fate

Traditional single-cell sequencing methods help to reveal insights about cellular differences and functions - but they do this with static snapshots only...

Im Focus: TU Graz Researchers synthesize nanoparticles tailored for special applications

“Core-shell” clusters pave the way for new efficient nanomaterials that make catalysts, magnetic and laser sensors or measuring devices for detecting electromagnetic radiation more efficient.

Whether in innovative high-tech materials, more powerful computer chips, pharmaceuticals or in the field of renewable energies, nanoparticles – smallest...

Im Focus: Tailored light inspired by nature

An international research team with Prof. Cornelia Denz from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Münster develop for the first time light fields using caustics that do not change during propagation. With the new method, the physicists cleverly exploit light structures that can be seen in rainbows or when light is transmitted through drinking glasses.

Modern applications as high resolution microsopy or micro- or nanoscale material processing require customized laser beams that do not change during...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2020”: The final touches for surfaces

23.07.2020 | Event News

Conference radar for cybersecurity

21.07.2020 | Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rare Earth Elements in Norwegian Fjords?

06.08.2020 | Earth Sciences

Anode material for safe batteries with a long cycle life

06.08.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Turning carbon dioxide into liquid fuel

06.08.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>