Neural signatures of language co-activation and control in bilingual spoken word comprehension

Peiyao Chen*, Susan C. Bobb, Noriko Hoshino, Viorica Marian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

To examine the neural signatures of language co-activation and control during bilingual spoken word comprehension, Korean-English bilinguals and English monolinguals were asked to make overt or covert semantic relatedness judgments on auditorily-presented English word pairs. In two critical conditions, participants heard word pairs consisting of an English-Korean interlingual homophone (e.g., the sound /mu:n/ means “moon” in English and “door” in Korean) as the prime and an English word as the target. In the homophone-related condition, the target (e.g., “lock”) was related to the homophone's Korean meaning, but not related to the homophone's English meaning. In the homophone-unrelated condition, the target was unrelated to either the homophone's Korean meaning or the homophone's English meaning. In overtly responded situations, ERP results revealed that the reduced N400 effect in bilinguals for homophone-related word pairs correlated positively with the amount of their daily exposure to Korean. In covertly responded situations, ERP results showed a reduced late positive component for homophone-related word pairs in the right hemisphere, and this late positive effect was related to the neural efficiency of suppressing interference in a non-linguistic task. Together, these findings suggest 1) that the degree of language co-activation in bilingual spoken word comprehension is modulated by the amount of daily exposure to the non-target language; and 2) that bilinguals who are less influenced by cross-language activation may also have greater efficiency in suppressing interference in a non-linguistic task.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-64
Number of pages15
JournalBrain research
Volume1665
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 15 2017

Keywords

  • Cross-language competition
  • ERPs
  • Inhibitory control
  • LPC
  • Language co-activation
  • N400

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology

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