Title of my talk: Modality-general and modality-specific plastic changes when learning a second language.
Abstract: There is still a lot to uncover about how the adult brain changes in response to learning. In my talk, I will focus on the remarkable and uniquely human ability to acquire more than one language. This process, effortful especially in adulthood, has been shown to lead to a substantial plastic reorganization of the brain. By adopting a longitudinal design in 3 groups, each acquiring new language in different modalities (Greek, Polish Sign Language and Braille), I will try to answer two questions: 1) when is the new language assimilated into an existing language network and 2) what are the common (modality general) and modality-specific plastic changes. Our data shows that most crucial functional changes happen with the transition from mere physical stimulation (unknown script) to lexical and semantic representations of the word or phrase, with astonishingly similar dynamics across 3 groups.