Sex Differences in Task-based Functional Connectivity in Balanced Bilinguals

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Linguistics - Faculty of Humanities- Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran


The present study aimed to investigate sex-related changes in task state functional connectivity (FC) within and between brain networks in balanced bilinguals. To meet this goal, Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data from thirty balanced bilinguals (15 female) were collected during auditory bilingual task. All participants were native speakers of Turkish who had learned Persian at school from the age of seven. The task required grammaticality judgements to alternating L1-L2 sentences. The left Pars Opercularis (PO) and the left posterior Superior Temporal Gyrus (pSTG) were selected as target regions of the language network. The areas of bilateral Planum Temporale (PT), bilateral Supplementary Motor Area (SMA), and bilateral Precentral Gyrus (PreCG) were also selected as language control network. FC and statistical analyses were performed using CONN-fMRI functional Connectivity toolbox v20.b and the SPSS-26 software. Results revealed greater connectivity within the language network from the left PO to the left pSTG (P = 0.001) in females as compared to males. Furthermore, females performed better on intra-network connectivities. Taken together, these findings suggest that the strength of task state functional connectivity within language network and intra-network reliably correlated with sex differences, supporting the idea of a female advantage in the language use.