Cross-linguistic phonotactic competition and cognitive control in bilinguals

Max R. Freeman*, Henrike K. Blumenfeld, Viorica Marian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The current study examines the relation between cognitive control and linguistic competition resolution at the sublexical level in bilinguals. Twenty-one Spanish–English bilinguals and 23 English monolinguals completed a non-linguistic Stroop task (indexing inhibitory control) and a linguistic priming/lexical decision task (indexing Spanish phonotactic-constraint competition during English comprehension). More efficient Stroop performance (i.e. a smaller Stroop effect) in bilinguals was associated with decreased competition from Spanish phonotactic constraints during English comprehension. This relation was observed when nonword targets overlapped in phonotactic constraints and phonological form with preceding cognate primes (e.g. prime: stable (Spanish: estable)/target: esteriors). Findings suggest a link between non-linguistic cognitive control and co-activation of linguistic structures at the sublexical level in bilinguals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)783-794
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cognitive Psychology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 3 2017


  • Bilingualism
  • cognitive control
  • competition resolution
  • parallel activation
  • phonotactic constraints

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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