Effect of monolingualism and bilingualism in the anterior cingulate cortex: a proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy study in two centers

  • Brendan Stuart Weekes University of Melbourne http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7496-4951
  • Jubin Abutalebi University Vita-Salute San Raffaele
  • Henry Ka-Fung Mak University of Hong Kong
  • Virginia Borsa University Vita-Salute San Raffaele
  • Sergio Miguel Pereira Soares University of Hong Kong
  • Pui Wai Chiu University of Hong Kong
  • Linda Zhang University of Hong Kong
Palavras-chave: H-MRS, Envelhecimento, Multilinguismo, Tarefa Flanker, ACC, Controle cognitivo


Reports of an advantage of bilingualism on brain structure in young adult participants are inconsistent. Abutalebi et al. (2012) reported more efficient monitoring of conflict during the Flanker task in young bilinguals compared to young monolingual speakers. The present study compared young adult (mean age = 24) Cantonese-English bilinguals in Hong Kong and young adult monolingual speakers. We expected (a) differences in metabolites in neural tissue to result from bilingual experience, as measured by 1H-MRS at 3T, (b) correlations between metabolic levels and Flanker conflict and interference effects (c) different associations in bilingual and monolingual speakers. We found evidence of metabolic differences in the ACC due to bilingualism, specifically in metabolites Cho, Cr, Glx and NAA. However, we found no significant correlations between metabolic levels and conflict and interference effects and no significant evidence of differential relationships between bilingual and monolingual speakers. Furthermore, we found no evidence of significant differences in the mean size of conflict and interference effects between groups i.e. no bilingual advantage. Lower levels of Cho, Cr, Glx and NAA in bilingual adults compared to monolingual adults suggest that the brains of bilinguals develop greater adaptive control during conflict monitoring because of their extensive bilingual experience.

***Efeito do monolinguismo e do bilinguismo no córtex anterior cingulado: um estudo de espectroscopia de ressonância magnética de prótons em dois centros***

Relatos de uma vantagem do bilinguismo na estrutura cerebral em jovens participantes adultos são inconsistentes. Abutalebi et al. (2012) relataram uma monitorização mais eficiente do conflito durante a tarefa de Flanker em jovens bilíngues comparados com jovens monolíngues. O presente trabalho comparou jovem adultos (idade média = 24) bilíngues em Cantonês-Inglês de Hong Kong e jovens monolíngues adultos. Estávamos a contar com (a) diferenças em metabólitos no tecido neural como resultado de uma experiência bilíngue, medido pelo 3T 1H-MRS, (b) correlações entre os níveis metabólicos, conflito Flanker e efeitos de interferência (c) diferentes associações em falantes monolíngues e bilíngues. Encontramos evidências de diferenças metabólicas no ACC devido ao bilinguismo, especificamente nos metabólitos Cho, Cr, Gly e NAA. Porém, não constatamos correlações significativas entre os níveis metabólicos e efeitos de conflito e interferência e nenhuma evidência significativa de relações diferenciais entre falantes monolíngues e bilíngues. Além disso, não encontramos nenhuma evidência de diferenças significativas no tamanho médio dos efeitos do conflito e interferência entre os grupos, ou seja, nenhuma vantagem bilíngue. Níveis inferiores de Cho, Cr, Gly em adultos bilíngues em comparação com adultos monolíngues sugerem que o cérebro dos bilíngues desenvolve maior controle adaptativo durante a monitorização do conflito por causa da sua extensa experiência bilíngue.


Não há dados estatísticos.


ABUTALEBI, J.; GREEN, D.W. Neuroimaging of language control in bilinguals: neural adaptation and reserve. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, v. 19, n. 4, p. 689-698, 2016.

ABUTALEBI, J.; GREEN, D.W. Control mechanisms in bilingual language production: Neural evidence from language switching studies. Language and Cognitive Processes, v. 23, n. 4, p. 557-582, 2008.

ABUTALEBI, J. et al. Language control and lexical competition in bilinguals: an event-related fMRI study. Cerebral Cortex, v. 18, n. 7, p. 1496-1505, 2007.

ABUTALEBI, J. et al. The neural cost of the auditory perception of language switches: an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging study in bilinguals. Journal of Neuroscience, v. 27, n. 50, p. 13762-13769, 2007.

ABUTALEBI, J. et al. Language proficiency modulates the engagement of cognitive control areas in multilinguals. Cortex, v. 49, n. 3, p. 905-911, 2013.

ABUTALEBI, J. et al. Bilingualism tunes the anterior cingulate cortex for conflict monitoring. Cerebral Cortex, v. 22, n. 9, p. 2076-2086, 2011.

ANTÓN, E. et al. Is there a bilingual advantage in the ANT task? Evidence from children. Frontiers in Psychology, v. 5, 2014.

BIALYSTOK, E. Effect of bilingualism and computer video game experience on the Simon task. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology/Revue Canadienne de Psychologie Expérimentale, v. 60, n. 1, p. 68, 2006.

BIALYSTOK, E. et al. Bilingualism, aging, and cognitive control: evidence from the Simon task. Psychology and Aging, v. 19, n. 2, p. 290, 2004.

BIALYSTOK, E.; CRAIK, F.; LUK, G. Cognitive control and lexical access in younger and older bilinguals. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, memory, and cognition, v. 34, n. 4, p. 859, 2008.

BOTVINICK, M. M. et al. Conflict monitoring and cognitive control. Psychological review, v. 108, n. 3, p. 624, 2001.

BOTVINICK, M. M.; COHEN, J. D.; CARTER, C. S. Conflict monitoring and anterior cingulate cortex: an update. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, v. 8, n. 12, p. 539-546, 2004.

BRANZI, F. M. et al. Language control in bilinguals: monitoring and response selection. Cerebral Cortex, v. 26, n. 6, p. 2367- 2380, 2015.

CHIU, P. W. et al. Metabolic changes in the anterior and posterior cingulate cortices of the normal aging brain: proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy study at 3T. Age, v. 36, n. 1, p. 251-264, 2014.

CIESLIK, E. C. et al. Three key regions for supervisory attentional control: evidence from neuroimaging meta-analyses. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, v. 48, p. 22-34, 2015.

COSTA, A. et al. On the bilingual advantage in conflict processing: Now you see it, now you don’t. Cognition, v. 113, n. 2, p. 135-149, 2009.

DELLA ROSA, P. A. et al. A neural interactive location for multilingual talent. Cortex, v. 49, n. 2, p. 605-608, 2013.

ELMER, S.; HÄNGGI, J.; JÄNCKE, L. Processing demands upon cognitive, linguistic, and articulatory functions promote grey matter plasticity in the adult multilingual brain: insights from simultaneous interpreters. Cortex, v. 54, p. 179-189, 2014.

FAN, J. et al. The activation of attentional networks. Neuroimage, v. 26, n. 2, p. 471-479, 2005.

GREEN, D.W. Mental control of the bilingual lexico-semantic system. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, v. 1, n. 2, p. 67-81, 1998.

GROGAN, A. et al. Structural correlates of semantic and phonemic fluency ability in first and second languages. Cerebral Cortex, v. 19, n. 11, p. 2690-2698, 2009.

GUO, T. et al. Local and global inhibition in bilingual word production: fMRI evidence from Chinese-English bilinguals. NeuroImage, v. 56, n. 4, p. 2300-2309, 2011.

HILCHEY, M. D.; KLEIN, R. M. Are there bilingual advantages on nonlinguistic interference tasks? Implications for the plasticity of executive control processes. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, v. 18, n. 4, p. 625-658, 2011.

HOSODA, C. et al. Neural mechanisms of language switch. Journal of Neurolinguistics, v. 25, n. 1, p. 44-61, 2012.

LUK, G. et al. Cognitive control for language switching in bilinguals: A quantitative meta-analysis of functional neuroimaging studies. Language and Cognitive Processes, v. 27, n. 10, p. 1479-1488, 2012.

MAK, H. K. F. et al. Efficacy of voxel-based morphometry with DARTEL and standard registration as imaging biomarkers in Alzheimer's disease patients and cognitively normal older adults at 3.0 Tesla MR imaging. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, v. 23, n. 4, p. 655-664, 2011. Let. Hoje, v. 53, n. 1, p. 5-12, jan.-mar. 2018

MARTIN-RHEE, M. M.; BIALYSTOK, E. The development of two types of inhibitory control in monolingual and bilingual children. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, v. 11, n. 1, p. 81-93, 2008.

MECHELLI, A. et al. Neurolinguistics: structural plasticity in the bilingual brain. Nature, v. 431, n. 7010, p. 757-757, 2004.

MLYNÁRIK, V.; GRUBER, S.; MOSER, E. Proton T1 and T2 relaxation times of human brain metabolites at 3 Tesla. NMR in biomedicine, v. 14, n. 5, p. 325-331, 2001.

NEE, D. E.; WAGER, T. D.; JONIDES, J. Interference resolution: insights from a meta-analysis of neuroimaging tasks. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, v. 7, n. 1, p. 1-17, 2007.

NIENDAM, T. A. et al. Meta-analytic evidence for a superordinate cognitive control network subserving diverse executive functions. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, v. 12, n, 2, p. 241-268, 2012.

ONG, G. et al. A diffusion model approach to analysing the bilingual advantage for the Flanker task: The role of attentional control processes. Journal of Neurolinguistics, v. 43, p. 28-38, 2017.

PAAP, K. R.; GREENBERG, Z. I. There is no coherent evidence for a bilingual advantage in executive processing. Cognitive Psychology, v. 66, n. 2, p. 232-258, 2013.

PAAP, K. R.; JOHNSON, H. A.; SAWI, O. Bilingual advantages in executive functioning either do not exist or are restricted to very specific and undetermined circumstances. Cortex, v. 69, p. 265-278, 2015.

RICHARDSON, F. M.; PRICE, C. J. Structural MRI studies of language function in the undamaged brain. Brain Structure and Function, v. 213, n. 6, p. 511-523, 2009.

RODRIGUEZ-FORNELLS, A. et al. Second language interferes with word production in fluent bilinguals: brain potential and functional imaging evidence. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, v. 17, n. 3, p. 422-433, 2005.

SNODGRASS, J. G.; VANDERWART, M. A standardized set of 260 pictures: norms for name agreement, image agreement, familiarity, and visual complexity. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning and Memory, v. 6, n. 2, p. 174, 1980.

STEIN, M. et al. Structural plasticity in the language system related to increased second language proficiency. Cortex, v. 48, n. 4, p. 458-465, 2012.

VALIAN, V. Bilingualism and cognition. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, v. 18, n. 1, p. 3-24, 2015.

VAN HEUVEN, W. J. et al. Language conflict in the bilingual brain. Cerebral Cortex, v. 18, n. 11, p. 2706-2716, 2008.

VON BASTIAN, C. C.; SOUZ A, A. S.; GADE, M. No evidence for bilingual cognitive advantages: A test of four hypotheses. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, v. 145, n. 2, p. 246, 2016.

WANG, Y. et al. Q. Neural bases of asymmetric language switching in second-language learners: An ER-fMRI study. NeuroImage, v. 35, n. 2, p. 862-870, 2007.

ZHOU, B.; KROTT, A. Data trimming procedure can eliminate bilingual cognitive advantage. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, v. 23, n. 4, p. 1221-1230, 2016.

ZOU, L. et al. Structural plasticity of the left caudate in bimodal bilinguals. Cortex, v. 48, n. 9, p. 1197-1206, 2012.

Como Citar
Weekes, B. S., Abutalebi, J., Mak, H. K.-F., Borsa, V., Soares, S. M. P., Chiu, P. W., & Zhang, L. (2018). Effect of monolingualism and bilingualism in the anterior cingulate cortex: a proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy study in two centers. Letras De Hoje, 53(1), 5-12. https://doi.org/10.15448/1984-7726.2018.1.30954
Linguagem na perspectiva da Psico/Neurolinguística e da Neurociência Cognitiva