Sustained inhibition of the native language in bilingual language production

A virtual reality approach

David Peeters*, Ton Dijkstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Bilinguals often switch languages as a function of the language background of their addressee. The control mechanisms supporting bilinguals' ability to select the contextually appropriate language are heavily debated. Here we present four experiments in which unbalanced bilinguals named pictures in their first language Dutch and their second language English in mixed and blocked contexts. Immersive virtual reality technology was used to increase the ecological validity of the cued language-switching paradigm. Behaviorally, we consistently observed symmetrical switch costs, reversed language dominance, and asymmetrical mixing costs. These findings indicate that unbalanced bilinguals apply sustained inhibition to their dominant L1 in mixed language settings. Consequent enhanced processing costs for the L1 in a mixed versus a blocked context were reflected by a sustained positive component in event-related potentials. Methodologically, the use of virtual reality opens up a wide range of possibilities to study language and communication in bilingual and other communicative settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1035-1061
Number of pages27
JournalBilingualism: Language and Cognition
Volume21
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018

Keywords

  • bilingualism
  • language switching
  • language production
  • inhibition
  • virtual reality
  • HIGHLY PROFICIENT BILINGUALS
  • ELECTROPHYSIOLOGICAL EVIDENCE
  • SPEECH PRODUCTION
  • SWITCH COSTS
  • VOLUNTARY LANGUAGE
  • LEXICAL ACCESS
  • SELECTION
  • TASK
  • BRAIN
  • COMPREHENSION

Cite this

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title = "Sustained inhibition of the native language in bilingual language production: A virtual reality approach",
abstract = "Bilinguals often switch languages as a function of the language background of their addressee. The control mechanisms supporting bilinguals' ability to select the contextually appropriate language are heavily debated. Here we present four experiments in which unbalanced bilinguals named pictures in their first language Dutch and their second language English in mixed and blocked contexts. Immersive virtual reality technology was used to increase the ecological validity of the cued language-switching paradigm. Behaviorally, we consistently observed symmetrical switch costs, reversed language dominance, and asymmetrical mixing costs. These findings indicate that unbalanced bilinguals apply sustained inhibition to their dominant L1 in mixed language settings. Consequent enhanced processing costs for the L1 in a mixed versus a blocked context were reflected by a sustained positive component in event-related potentials. Methodologically, the use of virtual reality opens up a wide range of possibilities to study language and communication in bilingual and other communicative settings.",
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author = "David Peeters and Ton Dijkstra",
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Sustained inhibition of the native language in bilingual language production : A virtual reality approach. / Peeters, David; Dijkstra, Ton.

In: Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, Vol. 21, No. 5, 11.2018, p. 1035-1061.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AU - Dijkstra, Ton

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AB - Bilinguals often switch languages as a function of the language background of their addressee. The control mechanisms supporting bilinguals' ability to select the contextually appropriate language are heavily debated. Here we present four experiments in which unbalanced bilinguals named pictures in their first language Dutch and their second language English in mixed and blocked contexts. Immersive virtual reality technology was used to increase the ecological validity of the cued language-switching paradigm. Behaviorally, we consistently observed symmetrical switch costs, reversed language dominance, and asymmetrical mixing costs. These findings indicate that unbalanced bilinguals apply sustained inhibition to their dominant L1 in mixed language settings. Consequent enhanced processing costs for the L1 in a mixed versus a blocked context were reflected by a sustained positive component in event-related potentials. Methodologically, the use of virtual reality opens up a wide range of possibilities to study language and communication in bilingual and other communicative settings.

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