Brain Anatomy and Language in Young Children

Language ability is usually located in the left side of the brain. Researchers studying brain development in young children who were acquiring language expected to see increasing levels of myelin, a nerve fiber insulator, on the left side. They didn’t: The larger myelin structure was already there. Their study underscores the importance of environment in language development.

The image shows the researchers looking over data.

Researchers Sean Deoni, left, and Jonathan O’Muircheartaigh studied brain scans and tested language skills of 108 children aged 1 to 6 years. Development of language skills, it turns out, may be heavily influenced by the child’s environment. Credit: Mike Cohea/Brown University