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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2015, Article ID 671705, 7 pages
Research Article

Neural Stimulation Has a Long-Term Effect on Foreign Vocabulary Acquisition

1Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Sabanci University, Tuzla, 34956 Istanbul, Turkey
2University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, UK
3Queen Mary University of London, London E1 4NS, UK

Received 23 February 2015; Revised 1 May 2015; Accepted 3 May 2015

Academic Editor: Preston E. Garraghty

Copyright © 2015 Achille Pasqualotto et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Acquisition of a foreign language is a challenging task that is becoming increasingly more important in the world nowadays. There is evidence suggesting that the frontal and temporal cortices are involved in language processing and comprehension, but it is still unknown whether foreign language acquisition recruits additional cortical areas in a causal manner. For the first time, we used transcranial random noise stimulation on the frontal and parietal brain areas, in order to compare its effect on the acquisition of unknown foreign words and a sham, or placebo, condition was also included. This type of noninvasive neural stimulation enhances cortical activity by boosting the spontaneous activity of neurons. Foreign vocabulary acquisition was tested both immediately and seven days after the stimulation. We found that stimulation on the posterior parietal, but not the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex or sham stimulation, significantly improved the memory performance in the long term. These results suggest that the posterior parietal cortex is directly involved in acquisition of foreign vocabulary, thus extending the “linguistic network” to this area.