The structural connectivity underpinning language aptitude, working memory and IQ in the perisylvian language network.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


  • Huadong Xiang
  • Dan Dediu
  • Leah Roberts
  • Erik van Oort
  • David G Norris
  • Peter Hagoort


Publication details

Title of host publicationIndividual Differences in Second Language Learning
DatePublished - 2012
EditorsLeah Roberts, Antje Meyer
Original languageEnglish

Publication series

NameThe Language Learning-Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics Cognitive Neuroscience Series


In this paper, we report the results of a study on the relationship between individual differences in language learning aptitude and the structural connectivity of language pathways in the adult brain, the first of its kind. We measured four components of language aptitude (vocabulary learning; sound recognition; sound-symbol correspondence; and grammatical inferencing) using the LLAMA language aptitude test (Meara, 2005). Spatial working memory, verbal working memory and IQ were also measured as control factors. Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) was employed to investigate the structural connectivity of language pathways in the perisylvian language network. Regression analysis suggested significant correlations between most of these behavioural measures and the structural connectivity of certain language pathways, i.e., grammatical inferencing and the BA45- and BA46-Temporal pathway, sound-symbol correspondence and the inter-hemispheric BA45 pathway, vocabulary learning and the BA47-Parietal pathway, IQ and the BA44- and BA-47Parietal pathways, the BA47-Temporal pathway and inter-hemispheric BA45 pathway, spatial working memory and the inter-hemispheric BA6 pathway and the BA47-Parietal pathway, and verbal working memory and the BA47-Temporal pathway. These findings provide further insights into the neural underpinnings of the variation in language aptitude of human adults and are discussed in relation to relevant findings in the literature.

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