About this Research Topic
Most adults attempt to learn a second or even third language at some point in their life. Since language exposure is one of the most intense cognitive training regimes one can encounter, it is not surprising that previous research has shown that multilingualism can induce profound change in the brain or ‘neuroplasticity’. Despite the general consensus that learning a new language as an adult can change the brain, what remains unclear is the scope of such adult language learning induced neuroplasticity. In other words, much is yet to be investigated about the factors that limit or promote adult language learning induced neuroplasticity as well as the neurocognitive mechanisms behind such factors.
On the one hand, many possible lines of research could shed light on neural mechanisms that limit adult language learning induced neuroplasticity such as: neural mechanisms of first language interference in the acquisition of a second language, reduced opportunity for language induced neuroplasticity in normal and pathological ageing (i.e., dementia) or neural mechanisms of abnormally low language learning in adulthood (i.e., language learning disorders).
On the other hand, the question arises to what extent we can push the limits of adult neuroplasticity due to language learning. Potentially relevant articles could study (but are not limited to): neural mechanisms of effective language training to promote acquisition of a second (or third) language, neurocognitive mechanisms of beneficial effects of learning a second language on learning a third language, plasticity enhancing effects of musical training on language acquisition, neural mechanisms of language ‘talent’ for language acquisition (i.e., neural explanations of how individuals achieve high rates of language acquisition), or direct stimulation of the brain to enhance language acquisition.
As such the present Research Topic aims to examine both the limits of neuroplasticity in adult language learning and the ways to push beyond those limits. Understanding of such limits and frontiers to push beyond the limits is not only theoretically fundamental but could also have practical implications for enhancing language training programmes.
We encourage researchers to submit articles on limiting and promoting factors of neurocognitive change due to adult language learning that combine cognitive tasks and neurophysiological (EEG, MRI, TMS) methods.
Keywords: Bilingualism, Plasticity
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