Does language context impact the neural correlates of executive control in monolingual and multilingual young adults?

Ashley Chung-Fat-Yim, Gregory J. Poarch, Kyle J. Comishen, Ellen Bialystok*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Some previous studies have shown that creating a language context in which words from both languages are interspersed into a flanker task improves executive control performance for bilinguals, but these studies have produced inconsistent results. The studies have used different versions of the task and not included monolinguals, limiting generalization. Here, English-Chinese multilinguals and English monolinguals performed a flanker task while EEG was recorded. There were three language context blocks – English, Chinese, or both – and participants were instructed to ignore the interspersed words. Multilinguals displayed faster flanker RTs and earlier P2 and N2 waveforms than monolinguals. There was also a significant correlation between the P2/N2 latency and reaction times, connecting these waveforms to behavior. Finally, P2 amplitude differed between groups in the mixed context, and language context impacted P3 amplitude for monolinguals but not multilinguals. These results are interpreted in terms of language context effects on monolingual executive function processing and possible difference in bilingual experience between current participants and those in previous studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105011
JournalBrain and Language
Volume222
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Keywords

  • ERP
  • Executive control
  • Flanker task
  • Language context
  • Multilingualism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Speech and Hearing
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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