Influence of language structure on brain-behavior development

Jennifer S. Buchwald, Donald Guthrie, Judith Schwafel, Roland J. Erwin, Diana Van Lancker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lack of exposure to specific sensory patterns during critical periods of development can result in a lack of responsiveness to those stimuli in adulthood. The present study extends these observations to native speakers of Japanese, a language which does not contain the contrastive /r/ and /1/ sounds present in English. Both electrophysiological (P3 event-related evoked potential) and behavioral results indicate deficient or absent discrimination of /r/ versus /1/ sounds in Japanese adults compared to native speakers of English. Thus, language structure appears to provide a subtle yet measurable effect on specific aspects of brain development and function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)607-619
Number of pages13
JournalBrain and Language
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Speech and Hearing


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