Poster E63, Saturday, August 18, 3:00 – 4:45 pm, Room 2000AB

The bilingualism effect on executive control: language production vs. language comprehension

Lu Jiao1, Cong Liu2, Baoguo Chen1;1Beijing Normal University, 2South China Normal University

There is a debate about the relationship between bilingualism and domain-general executive control (Bialystok, 2017; Paap et al., 2015). The dominant viewpoint proposed that bilingualism exerts a positive influence on executive control, and such bilingualism effect is closely related to the inhibitory control mechanism for language switching in bilinguals. However, supporting evidences for this viewpoint mostly come from language production studies, few study investigates the role of language comprehension on executive control in bilinguals. Although both languages are co-activation in both prodution and comprehension, language production and comprehension involve different language processes. Language comprehension involves bottom-up processes, whereas language production involves top-down processes. Our study conducted two ERPs studies to investigate and compare the bilingualism effect from language production and comprehension on executive control task. In study 1, we interleaved picture-naming task (i.e., language production task) with a nonverbal flanker task, and asked a group of Chinese-English bilingual to respond to both tasks. There were three blocks, i.e., L1 block, L2 block and mix block. There is no language switching in L1 block and L2 block, whereas in mixed block, the target language switched between L1 and L2. In each trial, participants firstly named the picture in target language, then performed the flanker task by pressing corresponding button. The ERP amplitude analyses for flanker task focused on P300 component. A repeated-measures ANOVA with the three within-subject factors congruency (congruent, incongruent), language (L1, L2, and mix), and brain region (frontal, fronto-central, central, and central-parietal). The results showed the mean amplitude in mix block was significantly smaller than L1 and L2 block in incongruent trials, whereas there was no difference among them in congruent trials. Study 2 followed the similar procedure as study 1, but replaced picture-naming task with visual picture-word matching task (i.e., language comprehension task). In this matching task, a picture accompanied with a written word appeared on the screen, and participants needed to judge and make an orally report. The mean amplitude results in study 2 showed that there was only a significant difference between mix block and L1 block in incongruent trials, consistent with the effect of language production, but no difference between mix block and L2 block. All these results indicated that both in language comprehension and in language production, bilingual context exerted an effect on executive control, especially in conflict resolution.

Topic Area: Multilingualism