Bilingual language lateralization: A meta-analytic tale of two hemispheres
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Two meta-analyses of 66 behavioral studies examined variables influencing functional cerebral lateralization of each language of brain-intact bilingual adults. Functional lateralization was found to be primarily influenced by age of onset of bilingualism: bilinguals who acquired both languages by 6 years of age showed bilateral hemispheric involvement for both languages, whereas those who acquired their second language after age 6 showed left hemisphere dominance for both languages. Moreover, among late bilinguals, left hemisphere involvement was found to be greater for those less proficient in their second language, those whose second language was English, and for studies involving dichotic listening paradigms; early bilinguals instead showed bilateral involvement in every condition. Implications of the observed differences in lateralization between early and late bilinguals are explored for existing theories of bilingualism and for neurocognitive models of brain functional organization of language.
neurobiology of language
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