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February 13, 2004

Twin Study Helps Map EFL Brain

A Tokyo University professor's research on 7th grade twins has shed light on how the brain's development is affected by EFL study. In a paper entitled "Correlated Functional Changes of the Prefrontal Cortex in Twins Induced by Classroom Education of Second Language," Professor Kuniyoshi Sakai focusses specifically on a cerebral region called the Broca's Area, located in the frontal lobe of the left side of the brain (an area long known to be responsible for the articulation of speech). Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, he was able to show visually for the first time how the brain's "bunpo chusu" (grammar processing) ability changes during the course of an English lesson. There was a high correlation in results between the twins, which strongly hints at the importance of genetic and environmental factors in the educational effectiveness of a lesson. The research is to be published this year in the US magazine Cerebral Cortex.
Research details (Japanese only)

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