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Self-monitoring and control in speech production -

The effect of bilingualism on resolving semantic interferences during lexical selection

Andrea Krott - School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, UK

Bilingual speakers have been suggested to have developed superior executive control through life-long practice of speaking two languages. Such an advantage has been shown almost exclusively in the non-verbal domain by using interference tasks, in which bilingual speakers have been found to be faster overall and/or less affected by competing stimulus features. I will present behavioural and electrophysiological evidence that this domain-general enhanced executive control affects bilingual speakers’ lexical selection processes within one language. Results from studies using a cyclic semantic blocking paradigm are congruent with bilingual enhanced top-down control that more efficiently and strongly inhibits competitors. On first sight, this conclusion seems to contradict with bilingual speakers’ lower performance in picture naming and verbal fluency tasks (e.g. Gollan et al., 2005; Sandoval et al., 2010). But our results suggest that this verbal disadvantage rather stems from reduced exposure to each of the two languages and fewer opportunities to speak them, and not from the fact that bilinguals need to suppress their ‘other’ language.

Last checked 2016-06-28 by Zeshu

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