Poster D60, Monday, March 27, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Bilingual lexical access is triggered by the intention to speak: behavioral and ERP/EEG evidence.
Francesca Martina Branzi1, Emmanuel Biau2, Clara Martin3, Albert Costa4; 1University of Manchester, 2Maastricht University, 3Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language (BCBL), 4Pompeu Fabra University; ICREA, Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats
When bilinguals plan to speak even one word, lexical entries in the two languages get concurrently activated. However, whether this may happen even without the intention to speak has not been explored yet. In the present study, we tested bilinguals in a task where participants had naming intention (i.e., naming task) and a task where there was no naming intention (i.e., semantic classification task), using the same picture stimuli. In order to assess the presence of languages’ co-activation, we manipulated the cognate status of the pictures and we recorded the EEG signal to differentiate the time-course of the cognate effect (non-cognates vs. cognates) on the ERPs depending on the task (naming vs. semantic). We also performed mean amplitude analysis (power) in the theta (6-7Hz) and alpha (9-10Hz) frequencies, which have been related to semantic-lexical retrieval processes and top-down control respectively. Reaction times were significantly increased by non-cognates stimuli in the naming task only. This modulation was reflected at neural levels by a negative ongoing shift in the non-cognate evoked ERPs. Power analysis revealed an increase of alpha activity for non-cognate stimuli in the naming task but not in the semantic task. Finally, we found an increase of theta activity significantly greater in the naming task as compared to the semantic one. Taken together, these findings seem to suggest that activated concepts do not automatically trigger bilingual lexical access. Rather, only when bilinguals have conscious intention to name an object their brain engages lexical access in the two languages.
Topic Area: LANGUAGE: Lexicon