en
Scientific article
English

Born with an ear for dialects? Structural plasticity in the expert phonetician brain

Published inThe Journal of neuroscience, vol. 31, no. 11, p. 4213-4220
Publication date2011
Abstract

Are experts born with particular predispositions, or are they made through experience? We examined brain structure in expert phoneticians, individuals who are highly trained to analyze and transcribe speech. We found a positive correlation between the size of left pars opercularis and years of phonetic transcription training experience, illustrating how learning may affect brain structure. Phoneticians were also more likely to have multiple or split left transverse gyri in the auditory cortex than nonexpert controls, and the amount of phonetic transcription training did not predict auditory cortex morphology. The transverse gyri are thought to be established in utero; our results thus suggest that this gross morphological difference may have existed before the onset of phonetic training, and that its presence confers an advantage of sufficient magnitude to affect career choices. These results suggest complementary influences of domain-specific predispositions and experience-dependent brain malleability, influences that likely interact in determining not only how experience shapes the human brain but also why some individuals become engaged by certain fields of expertise.

Keywords
  • Adult
  • Brain/anatomy & histology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Language
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuronal Plasticity/physiology
  • Phonetics
  • Speech Perception/physiology
Citation (ISO format)
GOLESTANI, Narly, PRICE, Cathy J, SCOTT, Sophie K. Born with an ear for dialects? Structural plasticity in the expert phonetician brain. In: The Journal of neuroscience, 2011, vol. 31, n° 11, p. 4213–4220. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3891-10.2011
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
accessLevelRestricted
Identifiers
ISSN of the journal0270-6474
531views
1downloads

Technical informations

Creation11/12/2012 10:37:00 AM
First validation11/12/2012 10:37:00 AM
Update time03/14/2023 7:56:22 PM
Status update03/14/2023 7:56:22 PM
Last indexation01/16/2024 12:53:55 AM
All rights reserved by Archive ouverte UNIGE and the University of GenevaunigeBlack