Poster C55, Sunday, March 26, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
Electrophysiological evidence of the cognate facilitation effect during bilingual visual word recognition
Karla Orihuela1, Hélène Giraudo1, Noémie te Rietmolen1, Albert Kim2; 1University of Toulouse, 2University of Colorado, Boulder
Visual word recognition of cognates (words that have the same linguistic derivation across languages and share form and meaning with different degrees of overlap) has been shown to be facilitated for bilinguals (when compared to monolinguals, or non cognate words). The aim of the study was to explore this “cognate facilitation effect” in order to better understand mental lexical representations. Bilingual (Spanish-English) and Monolingual (English) participants performed a delayed lexical decision task (on English only words and English - Spanish cognates) while EEG data was recorded. A facilitation effect was observed between groups, not only behaviourally (faster reaction times) but also neurophysiologically (as the amplitudes for the N400 component were smaller for the bilinguals in the cognate condition). Moreover, bilingual participants showed a different distribution for words depending on their cognate status: a more left lateralised distribution in the frontal areas for cognates, and a more central distributed activation was obtained for non cognate words. We interpret the data as evidence of the shared representations cognates have (because of the formal and semantic overlap across languages) in the bilingual mental lexicon.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Lexicon