Posts Tagged ‘Brain and Chinese language’

Unique brain waves N200 appear when reading Chinese characters

March 27th, 2012 No comments

22 February 2012
Research on Chinese Characters Makes Cover Story in Chinese Science Bulletin

Prof. John X. Zhang of the Psychology Department at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and his team have recently made two achievements in the study of Chinese characters, establishing the uniqueness of the Chinese language both theoretically and empirically. He proposed a meaning-spelling theory that conceptualizes written Chinese as the only meaning-spelling script in the world, on a par with alphabetic script, which is the only other type of mature human written language. While an alphabetic script emphasizes sound assembly, a meaning-spelling script stresses meaning compounding. Secondly, using neuroscience techniques, Professor Zhang verified a new brain wave that is specific to readers of Chinese characters. This verification indicates that written Chinese is a visual script, rectifying a popular mistake treating Chinese characters as pictures. The results have recently been published as a cover story in the February issue of a well-recognized academic journal, Chinese Science Bulletin.  Read more…

Study Chinese and Expand Your Brain’s reading network

March 5th, 2011 No comments

Researchers in Britain have found that people who speak Mandarin Chinese use both sides of their brain to understand the language. This compares to English-language speakers who only need to use the left side of their brain.

A similar pattern is also recorded when people read different language scripts. The figure above is a brain scan showing comparisons of American classroom learners and native Chinese reading Chinese and English. Learners show a bilateral occipital and fusiform “Chinese” pattern for Chinese and a standard alphabetic pattern for English. Chinese natives show a Chinese pattern for both English and Chinese. Click here to find more details.

The evidence suggests that alphabetic readers have a neural network that accommodates the demands of Chinese by recruiting neural structures less needed for alphabetic reading. Chinese readers have a neural network that partly assimilates English into the Chinese system, especially in the visual stages of word identification.

Our brain on culture

February 10th, 2011 No comments

I’ve attended recently an IB workshop on the new Language B curriculum. Intercultural understanding has become much more important in the new guide, and the link between L2 language learning and TOK is also emphasized. The blog post below offers a very interesting perspective for L2 language teachers to understand how culture can actually influence the neural activities of our brain.

Cultural Neuroscience

Our brains and minds are shaped by our experiences, which mainly occur in the context of the culture in which we develop and live. Although psychologists have provided abundant evidence for diversity of human cognition and behaviour across cultures, the question of whether the neural correlates of human cognition are also culture-dependent is often not considered by neuroscientists. However, recent transcultural neuroimaging studies have demonstrated that one’s cultural background can influence the neural activity that underlies both high- and low-level cognitive functions.

Above is part of the abstract of a research paper by Shihui Han and Georg Northoff “Culture-Sensitive Neural Substrates of Human Cognition: A Transcultural Neuroimaging Approach”. The full version (pdf) is available.

I also found that Daniel Lende’s outline about the article is equally interesting. I quote here some interesting parts regarding Chinese language. Read more…

Context! Context! Context!

October 17th, 2010 No comments

Context! Context! Context!

The word “Context” keeps coming to me recently, from many different texts I read and school-related PD activities. Now let me put them all together here.

“A Whole New Mind – Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future” by Daniel H. PINK

The 4 key differences of our brain’s TWO hemispheres:

Left Brain Right Brain
1. The left hemisphere controls the right side of the body. The right hemisphere controls the left side of the body.
2. The left hemisphere is sequential. The right hemisphere is simultaneous.
3. The left hemisphere specializes in text. The right hemisphere specializes in CONTEXT.
4. The left hemisphere analyzes the details. The right hemisphere synthesizes the big picture.
Sequential, literal, functional, textual, and analytical Simultaneous, metaphorical, aesthetic, contextual, and synthetic

(Download this article in PDF) Read more…

BBC: Research to find effects on brain of bilingualism

August 11th, 2010 No comments

A project at Bangor University aims to explore the benefit of being bilingual.

Running two parallel language systems throughout life has had positive benefits in a number of ways
Prof Virginia Gathercole, Bangor University

Higher SAT Scores: Possible Link With Chinese Language

August 5th, 2010 No comments

Higher SAT Scores: Possible Link With Chinese Language


By Associated Press

A Northeastern University study suggests there may be a link between learning to write in Chinese and achieving higher scores on the SAT.


Chinese ‘takes more brainpower’

August 5th, 2010 No comments

Speaking Chinese may take more brainpower than speaking English, a study suggests. On one hand, this shows that learning Chinese language is more difficult; on the other hand, if we take learning Chinese as a brain exercise, your brain gets trained in a more effective way.

Read this article!