Edited by Ellen Bialystok and Margot D. Sullivan
[Studies in Bilingualism 53] 2017
► pp. 131–159
Chapter 7. Auditory word recognition across the lifespan
Links between linguistic and nonlinguistic inhibitory control in bilinguals and monolinguals
Recent research suggests that bilingual experience reconfigures linguistic and nonlinguistic cognitive processes. We examined the relationship between linguistic competition resolution and nonlinguistic cognitive control in younger and older adults who were either bilingual or monolingual. Participants heard words in English and identified the referent among four pictures while eye-movements were recorded. Target pictures (e.g., cab) appeared with a phonological competitor picture (e.g., cat) and two filler pictures. After each eye-tracking trial, priming probes assessed residual activation and inhibition of target and competitor words. When accounting for processing speed, results revealed that age-related changes in activation and inhibition are smaller in bilinguals than in monolinguals. Moreover, younger and older bilinguals, but not monolinguals, recruited similar inhibition mechanisms during word identification and during a nonlinguistic Stroop task. Results suggest that, during lexical access, bilinguals show more consistent competition resolution and recruitment of cognitive control across the lifespan than monolinguals.