Karin Heidlmayr

Publications

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5
  • Aparicio, X., Heidlmayr, K., & Isel, F. (2017). Inhibition Efficiency in Highly Proficient Bilinguals and Simultaneous Interpreters: Evidence from Language Switching and Stroop Tasks. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 46, 1427-1451. doi:10.1007/s10936-017-9501-3.

    Abstract

    The present behavioral study aimed to examine the impact of language control expertise on two domain-general control processes, i.e. active inhibition of competing representations and overcoming of inhibition. We compared how Simultaneous Interpreters (SI) and Highly Proficient Bilinguals—two groups assumed to differ in language control capacity—performed executive tasks involving specific inhibition processes. In Experiment 1 (language decision task), both active and overcoming of inhibition processes are involved, while in Experiment 2 (bilingual Stroop task) only interference suppression is supposed to be required. The results of Experiment 1 showed a language switching effect only for the highly proficient bilinguals, potentially because overcoming of inhibition requires more cognitive resources than in SI. Nevertheless, both groups performed similarly on the Stroop task in Experiment 2, which suggests that active inhibition may work similarly in both groups. These contrasting results suggest that overcoming of inhibition may be harder to master than active inhibition. Taken together, these data indicate that some executive control processes may be less sensitive to the degree of expertise in bilingual language control than others. Our findings lend support to psycholinguistic models of bilingualism postulating a higher-order mechanism regulating language activation.
  • Heidlmayr, K., Doré-Mazars, K., Aparicio, X., & Isel, F. (2016). Multiple language use influences oculomotor task performance: Neurophysiological evidence of a shared substrate between language and motor control. PLoS One, 11(11): e0165029. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0165029.

    Abstract

    In the present electroencephalographical study, we asked to which extent executive control processes are shared by both the language and motor domain. The rationale was to examine whether executive control processes whose efficiency is reinforced by the frequent use of a second language can lead to a benefit in the control of eye movements, i.e. a non-linguistic activity. For this purpose, we administrated to 19 highly proficient late French-German bilingual participants and to a control group of 20 French monolingual participants an antisaccade task, i.e. a specific motor task involving control. In this task, an automatic saccade has to be suppressed while a voluntary eye movement in the opposite direction has to be carried out. Here, our main hypothesis is that an advantage in the antisaccade task should be observed in the bilinguals if some properties of the control processes are shared between linguistic and motor domains. ERP data revealed clear differences between bilinguals and monolinguals. Critically, we showed an increased N2 effect size in bilinguals, thought to reflect better efficiency to monitor conflict, combined with reduced effect sizes on markers reflecting inhibitory control, i.e. cue-locked positivity, the target-locked P3 and the saccade-locked presaccadic positivity (PSP). Moreover, effective connectivity analyses (dynamic causal modelling; DCM) on the neuronal source level indicated that bilinguals rely more strongly on ACC-driven control while monolinguals rely on PFC-driven control. Taken together, our combined ERP and effective connectivity findings may reflect a dynamic interplay between strengthened conflict monitoring, associated with subsequently more efficient inhibition in bilinguals. Finally, L2 proficiency and immersion experience constitute relevant factors of the language background that predict efficiency of inhibition. To conclude, the present study provided ERP and effective connectivity evidence for domain-general executive control involvement in handling multiple language use, leading to a control advantage in bilingualism.
  • Heidlmayr, K., Hemforth, B., Moutier, S., & Isel, F. (2015). Neurodynamics of executive control processes in bilinguals: Evidence from ERP and source reconstruction analyses. Frontiers in Psychology, 6: 821. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00821.

    Abstract

    The present study was designed to examine the impact of bilingualism on the neuronal activity in different executive control processes namely conflict monitoring, control implementation (i.e., interference suppression and conflict resolution) and overcoming of inhibition. Twenty-two highly proficient but non-balanced successive French–German bilingual adults and 22 monolingual adults performed a combined Stroop/Negative priming task while event-related potential (ERP) were recorded online. The data revealed that the ERP effects were reduced in bilinguals in comparison to monolinguals but only in the Stroop task and limited to the N400 and the sustained fronto-central negative-going potential time windows. This result suggests that bilingualism may impact the process of control implementation rather than the process of conflict monitoring (N200). Critically, our study revealed a differential time course of the involvement of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in conflict processing. While the ACC showed major activation in the early time windows (N200 and N400) but not in the latest time window (late sustained negative-going potential), the PFC became unilaterally active in the left hemisphere in the N400 and the late sustained negative-going potential time windows. Taken together, the present electroencephalography data lend support to a cascading neurophysiological model of executive control processes, in which ACC and PFC may play a determining role.
  • Heidlmayr, K., Moutier, S., Hemforth, B., Courtin, C., Tanzmeister, R., & Isel, F. (2013). Successive bilingualism and executive functions: The effect of second language use on inhibitory control in a behavioural Stroop Colour Wordtask. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 17(3), 630-645. doi:dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1366728913000539.

    Abstract

    Here we examined the role of bilingualism on cognitive inhibition using the Stroop Colour Word task. Our hypothesis was that the frequency of use of a second language (L2) in the daily life of successive bilingual individuals impacts the efficiency of their inhibitory control mechanism. Thirty-three highly proficient successive French–German bilinguals, living either in a French or in a German linguistic environment, performed a Stroop task on both French and German words. Moreover, 31 French monolingual individuals were also tested with French words. We showed that the bilingual advantage was (i) reinforced by the use of a third language, and (ii) modulated by the duration of immersion in a second language environment. This suggests that top–down inhibitory control is most involved at the beginning of immersion. Taken together, the present findings lend support to the psycholinguistic models of bilingual language processing that postulate that top–down active inhibition is involved in language control.
  • Fenk, L. M., Heidlmayr, K., Lindner, P., & Schmid, A. (2010). Pupil Size in Spider Eyes Is Linked to Post-Ecdysal Lens Growth. PLoS One, 5(12): e15838. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0015838.

    Abstract

    In this study we describe a distinctive pigment ring that appears in spider eyes after ecdysis and successively decreases in size in the days thereafter. Although pigment stops in spider eyes are well known, size variability is, to our knowledge, reported here for the first time. Representative species from three families (Ctenidae, Sparassidae and Lycosidae) are investigated and, for one of these species (Cupiennius salei, Ctenidae), the progressive increase in pupil diameter is monitored. In this species the pupil occupies only a fourth of the total projected lens surface after ecdysis and reaches its final size after approximately ten days. MicroCT images suggest that the decrease of the pigment ring is linked to the growth of the corneal lens after ecdysis. The pigment rings might improve vision in the immature eye by shielding light rays that would otherwise enter the eye via peripheral regions of the cornea, beside the growing crystalline lens.

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