[PS-1.19] Statistical learning predicts neural changes associated with L2 learning

Brice, H. 1 , Frost, R. 1, 2, 3 , Mencl, W. E. 2 & Pugh, K. 2

1 The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
2 Haskins Laboratories

We present preliminary results from a longitudinal study tracking the behavioural and neural changes associated with learning a second language, looking specifically at the correlation between statistical learning ability and the neural changes.
Two parallel cohorts of second language learners - 40 American immigrants to Israel and 40 Israeli immigrants to the United States - were tracked over two years of immersion in their respective second languages. Behavioural and neurological measures of first and second language word and pseudoword processing were collected in two sessions across the two-year period. In addition, a visual statistical learning task was administered to measure individual statistical learning ability. Additional measures of general cognitive measures were also administered.
The preliminary analysis of the neurological data presented here shows the major neural changes associated with second language learning during the two-year period. We probe the relation between these changes in second language processing and statistical learning ability across the two cohorts.