Resolving Between-Language and Within-Language Competition in Bilinguals
Chung-Fat-Yim, Ashley Kim
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Friesen et al. (2011) reported behavioural and electrophysiological differences in how monolinguals and bilinguals resolved lexical competition in a picture selection task (PST). Participants selected a named picture from two alternatives that were related semantically, phonologically, or unrelated. Both groups were slower on related pairs, but the additional RT cost on semantically-related pairs was smaller for bilinguals than for monolinguals. Importantly, monolinguals exhibited attenuated N400s for semantically-related pairs while bilinguals did not. The current study pursued these results with a homogeneous group of English-French bilinguals performing the task in both languages. Measures of executive control, language proficiency, and language production abilities were acquired to investigate their influence in resolving interlingual and intralingual competition. In both languages, semantic pairs generated longer RTs than phonological and unrelated pairs and as in the earlier study, there was no modulation of the N400. There was no evidence for a relation between the PST and the flanker task. However, a relation was found between vocabulary knowledge and the PST in the weaker language.