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Poster C70, Thursday, November 9, 10:00 – 11:15 am, Harborview and Loch Raven Ballrooms

Picture-Word Interference in Bimodal Bilinguals

Megan Mott1, Katherine J. Midgley1, Phillip J. Holcomb1, Gabriela Meade1,2, Zed Sevcikova Sehyr1, Karen Emmorey1;1San Diego State University, 2UCSD

A central issue in bilingual language performance concerns how bilinguals manage to select words in a target language while ignoring words in another language. Some models propose that lexical selection occurs via between-language competition (e.g., Green, 1998), others propose only within-language lexical competition for production (e.g., Costa, 2005), and still others suggest that competition does not occur at the lexical level but at a post-lexical, pre-articulatory level (e.g., Mahon et al., 2007). Bimodal bilinguals can uniquely inform these different accounts because their languages (here English and ASL) do not compete for articulation since they engage distinct motor systems. The current study examines cross-language activation in an ASL production task in bimodal bilinguals (individuals who are fluent in both a spoken and signed language) using a picture-word interference (PWI) paradigm. ASL-English bilinguals viewed a series of trials each of which presented a printed English word (200ms) immediately followed by a simple line drawing (2000ms) to be named in ASL. The words and line drawings were either identically related (e.g., the English word DOG followed by a picture of a dog), semantically related (e.g., DOG followed by a picture of a cat), or unrelated (e.g., DOG followed by a picture of a key). Participants were instructed to produce the ASL sign for the picture, regardless of the English word presented before the picture. Artifact-free ERPs were recorded time-locked to the onset of each picture stimulus and continuing for 800 ms. Reaction times (RTs) from picture onset were measured to hand liftoff from a button at the onset of sign production. Results indicate faster RTs to pictures following the English translation (translation priming) than responses to unrelated pictures. However, RTs to pictures that were semantically related to the English prime word did not differ from unrelated word-picture pairs, replicating Giezen and Emmorey (2016). Importantly, as in previous PWI ERP studies with unimodal bilinguals, there was evidence of an N400 priming effect for both translation and semantic pairs, suggesting that participants were sensitive to the relationship between primes and targets in both conditions. This pattern of results suggests that English words presented before target pictures in the PWI paradigm are processed for meaning by bimodal bilinguals, but the activated English word does not compete for articulation with the target ASL sign, and thus ASL naming latencies are not slowed in the semantic-related condition. The findings are most consistent with a post-lexical (articulatory buffer) account of cross-language interference in the PWI paradigm.

Topic Area: Signed Language and Gesture

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