The Role of Language Switching During Cross-Talk Between Bilingual Language Control and Domain-General Conflict Monitoring


The relationship between bilingual language control and executive control is debated. The present study investigated the effect of short-term language switching in a comprehension task on executive control performance in unbalanced bilinguals. Participants were required to perform a context task and an executive control task (i.e., flanker task) in sequence. A picture-word matching task created different language contexts in Experiment 1 (i.e., L1, L2, and dual-language contexts). By modifying the color-shape switching task, we created different contexts that do not involve language processing in Experiment 2 (i.e., color, shape, and dual context). Experiment 1 showed overall faster responses (in both congruent and incongruent trials) in the flanker task after a language switching context than after single (L1 or L2) contexts. This suggests that the language switching in a comprehension task affected general monitoring performance. By contrast, the nonlinguistic contexts in Experiment 2 did not affect flanker performance. This provides further evidence for the crucial role of language processing during switching to elicit short-term adaptions on domain-general conflict monitoring. Overall, our findings add to the previous studies by showing cross-talk between bilingual language control and domain-general conflict monitoring when language switching occurs in a comprehension task.

Cognitive Science,46(8), e13184