Poster E29, Monday, March 27, 2:30 – 4:30 pm, Pacific Concourse
Bilingualism interacts with cognitive control to predict parietal grey matter volume
Kelly A. Vaughn1, Pilar Archila-Suerte1, Arturo E. Hernandez1; 1University of Houston
Recent research has uncovered increases in grey matter volume (GMV) associated with bilingual experiences (Della Rosa et al., 2013; Elmer, Hanggi, & Jancke, 2014; Mechelli et al., 2004; Olsen et al., 2015). Because these GMV changes develop throughout the lifespan, they serve as a potential neural mechanism for differences between bilinguals and monolinguals in cognitive control tasks; however, no study to date has directly associated GMV in bilinguals and monolinguals with performance on cognitive control tasks. The current study compared 48 Spanish-English bilinguals and 37 English monolinguals performing the Simon task, which requires responses to colored shapes while inhibiting the prepotent response. The researchers extracted GMV measures from the bilateral angular and supramarginal gyri from participants’ MRI scans using Freesurfer. These regions were chosen based on previous research finding GMV differences between bilinguals and monolinguals in the inferior parietal lobule (Della Rosa et al., 2013; Mechelli et al., 2004). Controlling for participant age, there was an interaction between task performance and bilingual status in the left angular gyrus and right supramarginal gyrus. GMV in the left angular gyrus showed a positive association with the magnitude of the Simon effect in bilinguals and a negative association in monolinguals. GMV in the right supramarginal gyrus was negatively associated with response time for congruent and neutral trials for monolinguals, and positively associated with these response times for bilinguals. These findings connect the bilingual research concerning GMV and cognitive control, implicating the inferior parietal lobule as a potential mechanism for control.
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Monitoring & inhibitory control