Mag. phil. Sabrina Turker BA

The neuroanatomical correlates of foreign language aptitude

Betreuung: Annemarie Peltzer-Karpf, Annemarie Seither-Preisler, Peter Schneider, Susanne M. Reiterer
Zeitraum: 2017–2020 (doc-team scholarship)

Research on language aptitude has flourished in the past decades and has gained attention from various disciplines. Although numerous factors such as age, personality or motivation are said to influence successful foreign language learning, language aptitude, i.e., the genetic predisposition, cannot be denied as an essential variable. Similarly, recent research has pointed towards the strong genetic component of musical aptitude. Specifically, a number of neuroanatomical markers for music aptitude have been found in the auditory cortex (Heschl’s gyrus) of children with and without musical training. The main aim of my thesis is to explore the importance of auditory cortex morphology for language processing. Apart from investigating the relationships between language, musicality, and working memory, neuroanatomic analyses of two age groups (children/teenagers vs. adults) shall help us uncover the neuroanatomic basis of language aptitude. The findings of such a research project are highly relevant for foreign language teaching, pedagogy and didactics.