Guangdong Key Laboratory of Mental Health and Cognitive Science, Center for Studies of Psychological Application, and School of Psychology, South China Normal University, Guangzhou, China. Electronic address: [Email]
Previous studies have found that native Chinese speakers recruit the bilateral fusiform gyrus to read English words, in the same manner as they read Chinese words (i.e., the assimilation process). In this study, we quantified the neural pattern similarity between native (L1) and second languages (L2) by using representational similarity analysis (RSA), and examined the modulatory effects of L2 proficiency on cross-language neural pattern similarity (PS) in the bilateral fusiform cortex. Results showed that, for Chinese-English bilinguals, higher reading proficiency in L2 was associated with greater cross-language PS in the left fusiform gyrus, but with lower PS in the right fusiform gyrus. These results suggest that, as L2 proficiency increases, the assimilation process is enhanced in the region for word reading (left fusiform gyrus), but reduced in the region for nonlinguistic processing (right fusiform gyrus).