Primary Study Summary

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Primary Study Summary
Introduction & Hypothesis Previous to Cao, Brennan, & Booth (2015), various studies have examined the relationship between acquisition of reading skills and neuronal activation. Despite the extensive evidence that there are dynamic changes in systems where adaptation takes place, it is still unknown to what extent the acquisition of fundamentally different languages results in differing brain networks. The current study proposes the hypothesis that learning to read leads to a growing divergence between different orthographies with increased experience. The legitimacy of the hypothesis is supported by the fact that alphabetic orthographies (i.e. English) use highly frequent mapping between letters (graphemes) and sounds
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(2015), the focus of the research expands on previous findings that there is a modulatory role of primary language in learning to read a secondary language. The phonological aspect is of particular concern as the researchers distinguish between addressed and assembled phonologies. Known as the dual-route model of word learning, assembled phonology (i.e. grapheme-to-phoneme mapping) is typically utilized to read unfamiliar words whereas addressed phonology makes use of the relationship between the visual appearance of words and their sounds, and is consequently employed for familiar word reading. Due to the differences in orthography between English and Chinese, it is unsurprising that alphabetic languages emphasize assembled phonology while logographic languages, without letter-phoneme mappings, rely on addressed phonology. As found in Cao, Brennan, & Booth (2015), existing research indicates that cognitive and neural mechanisms can be shaped by native language. In Mei et al. (2015), the assimilation-accomodation hypothesis essentially posits that these influentially developed neural mechanisms will inevitably affect the processing of a second language. The present study adopted a Korean artificial language training paradigm in order to examine the potential differences hypothesized to exist between native English speakers and native Chinese speakers. The recruits consisted of 42 native Chinese speakers and 43 native English speakers, neither of which had prior experience with the Korean language. Within both samples, participants were divided in terms of the type of training (i.e. addressed phonology vs assembled phonology). A total of 120 artificial language words were used. They were divided into two groups of stimuli in which some were trained words and others were not trained words (in order to detect the transfer of learning). Participants were asked to read each presented word with haste and precision in mind. Data was collected through an
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