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Bangor Brain & Cognitive Development Laboratory

Research - Language Acquisition

These studies examine the development of cerebral specializations for different aspects of brain and language development such as phonology, prosody, semantics, and grammar from typically developing monolingual and bilingual infants, children, and adults. The approach taken is to examine the effects of experience on brain organization by studying: 1) children who are the same age but differ in vocabulary size, 2) children who have similar vocabulary sizes but who differ in chronological age (early and late talkers), 3) children learning two languages at the same time who may have different vocabulary sizes for each language (language dominance), 5) adults who learn their second language at different ages (age of acquisition effects), 6) directly testing the effects of experience in training studies, 7) examining nonverbal correlates of language processing, and 8) investigating the effects of domain general processes on language development.

The current lines of research on brain and language development:

  1. The role of working memory in word learning in monolingual and bilingual infants
  2. Phonological processing in early word learning - how children learning one or two languages perceive mispronunciations of consonants and vowels
  3. Segmenting words from continuous speech in two languages
  4. Vocabulary size and brain organization: evidence from Welsh/ English bilingual toddlers
  5. Semantic processing and categorization in bilingual toddlers
  6. The effects of cultural differences in infant-directed speech on developmental changes in brain activity to known and unknown words
  7. Gesture comprehension in early word learning in monolingual and bilingual infants
  8. Executive function and categorisation in bilingual toddlers
  9. Processing emotion words in first and second language: a study of Welsh/English bilingual adults.