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Electrophysiological Signatures of Cross-Linguistic Interference Resolution in Bilinguals With and Without Aphasia

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Poster B4 in Poster Session B, Tuesday, October 24, 3:30 - 5:15 pm CEST, Espace Vieux-Port

Katherine Andrade1,2, Henrike Blumenfeld2, Stephanie Riès2; 1University of California, San Diego, 2San Diego State University

The growing prevalence of bilingual speakers has generated great interest in the linguistic abilities associated with bilingualism. Evidence from language production tasks indicates that bilinguals simultaneously activate both languages in parallel during word retrieval. A central strategy used to examine the overlap in linguistic processing across languages is to identify tasks where cross-linguistic interactions can occur. False cognates provide a lens into bilingual processing where cross-linguistic interference is present, increasing reaction times and error rates compared to non-cognates. False cognates are phonetically and orthographically similar words that are semantically distinct across languages (e.g., Spanish “grapa” means “staple” but resembles English “grape”). In Bilinguals with stroke-induced aphasia , deficits can impact each language as well as how the two languages interact with each other. Yet little is known about the neural dynamics supporting the cross-linguistic interference resolution processes that may be affected in stroke-induced aphasia. Here, we examined the impact of three types of distractor words: false cognate (FC), unrelated (UR), and identity (ID) in naming during a picture-word interference (PWI) paradigm. We examined neurophysiological correlates of cognitive control during cross-linguistic processing by focusing on a medial frontal component (at electrode FCz) peaking prior to vocal onset and previously associated with linguistic and non-linguistic interference resolution. We used electroencephalography (EEG) to compare Spanish-English Bilinguals with aphasia to age-matched controls. Twenty age-matched controls (15F; mean age=51.3yrs; SD=8.9) and 3 Bilinguals with aphasia (2F; mean age=54 yrs; SD=20.4) were included in the analyses. Behavioral results revealed a significant main effect of condition and group on reaction time (Wald χ2(2)=98.76, p<0.001; Wald χ2(1)=15.08, p<0.001) and naming accuracy (Wald χ2(2) =16.95, p<0.001; Wald χ2(1)=14.8, p<0.001). Bilinguals with aphasia were slower and made more errors than age-matched controls. Across groups, reaction times were slower in the FC than UR condition (βraw=0.05, SE=0.008, t=6.20, p<0.001) and faster in the ID than FC condition (βraw=-0.11, SE=0.011, t=-9.69, p<0.001). Accuracy was lower in the FC than UR condition (βraw=-0.61, SE=0.186, t=-3.29, p<0.01) and higher in the ID than UR condition (βraw=0.85, SE=0.210, t=4.05, p<0.001). Stimulus-locked EEG results revealed a medial frontal component with a slope that differed significantly from zero between 200-400ms in age-matched controls (p<0.001) but not in Bilinguals with aphasia (p=0.17). Response-locked EEG results revealed a pre-response component with a marginal effect on slope that differed from zero between -600 and -400ms in age-matched controls (p=0.06) but not in Bilinguals with aphasia (p=0.97). Both Stimulus and Response-locked data in age-matched controls revealed cross-linguistic interference (p=0.007, p<0.001) and identity facilitation effects (p<0.001, p = 0.002) on peak-to-peak amplitudes in age-matched controls. Initial findings suggest that while controls engage the medial frontal cortex to efficiently resolve cross-linguistic interference, this mechanism may be interrupted in Bilinguals with aphasia, perhaps explaining overall slower and less accurate performance in Bilinguals with aphasia. Examining the role of language dominance within these effects may bring further nuance to this pattern. The current work will help to elucidate how aphasia can influence word retrieval processes in the face of cross-linguistic interactions in bilinguals.

Topic Areas: Language Production, Disorders: Acquired

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