Combining the latest technology of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetoencephalography (MEG), researchers of the University "of California" in San Diego have shown that children are a little older than one year deal with words using the same brain structures as adults.
The researchers found that children not only to handle in the form of sound words, but i can not understand their meaning.
The study, conducted by Dr. Eric Halgren - Professor of Radiology, Jeff Elman - a professor of cognitive science, and Katherine E. Travis from the Department of Neurology and multimodal diagnostic states that infants use the same brain mechanisms as adults in uncovering the meanings of words, by what is now considered mentally "database", or database that is continuously updated until "adulthood ".
Many are now believed that infants use a completely different mechanism for learning words, learning to move from the simplest components and turns into a process used by adults.
Identifying areas of the brain responsible for language learning has not been possible due to lack of evidence that would indicate a developed area of the brain, in which process takes place.
Although the lesions in the two parts of the brain known as Wernicke and Bročino (frontotemporally) area, for a long time associated with loss of language skills in adults, the same lesions at an early age does not affect too much on language development.
To explain these differences, some say that the right hemisphere and inferior frontal regions initially critical for language, and language areas of leakage in old age become dominant only with the spread of the language experience.
In contrast, other theories suggest the hypothesis that the plasticity of the brain of the newborn to other regions of download tasks associated with learning the language, if there is damage to the left frontotemporal region at an early age.
To determine whether infants used the same functional networks as adults in interpreting the meaning of words, researchers have used MEG-infection, diagnostic that measures tiny magnetic fields that are sent neurons in the brain, and MRI in the noninvasive assessment of brain activity 12-18 months old infants.
In the first experiment, children listened to words accompanied by sounds of similar acoustic properties, but not the meaning - to be determined whether they differ from each other. During the second phase, scientists have questioned whether infants understand the meaning of those words.
Within this experiment, infants were given pictures of familiar objects, and then they heard the words that fit, that did not fit the name. So picture the ball followed the spoken adequate term, and then heard the word dog.
Brain activity has shown that children are able to establish a mismatch of words and pictures, which was shown by the amplitude of brain activity. "Unmatched" or mismatched words, evoke the characteristic brain response located in the left frontotemporally area responsible for processing the meanings of words in the adult brain.
The tests were repeated in adults in order to confirm that the same unmatched combination of image / word shown newborns caused by a stronger responsiveness in the left frontotemporally area.