Paving the Way for Groundbreaking Research in Bilingualism

Paving the Way for Groundbreaking Research in Bilingualism.

For more than a century, scientists have been studying how knowledge comes into the human brain through sound. They believe that brain tissue they label as part of the auditory cortex is exclusively responsible for processing sound—and thus is a crucial tissue to stimulate in the pursuit of language acquisition. Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto has conducted studies that prove those years of conjecture wrong.

What was believed to be only sound processing tissue, instead, processes both signed and spoken languages. Rather than being exclusively set to sound, parts of what was previously labeled “auditory tissue” is set to highly specific temporal patterns at the heart of all human language, be it language on the hands or the tongue.

“We have been so thrilled by our discoveries showing that signed languages and spoken languages are processed identically in the human brain. … These are very exciting findings—really, first-time findings,” said Petitto.

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