Poster A13, Saturday, March 24, 1:30–3:30 pm, Exhibit Hall C
Keep calm and carry on: ERP evidence for reduced negative anticipation stress in bilingualism
Rafal Jonczyk1,2, Guillaume Thierry3; 1Adam Mickiewicz University, 2Pennsylvania State University, 3Bangor University
Recent research suggests that bilinguals might process negative information on a shallower level in their second language (L2; Jończyk et al. 2016; Wu and Thierry 2012). In light of these findings, we set out to investigate whether operating in L1 and L2 might differentially modulate emotional anticipation mechanisms, as indexed by the Stimulus Preceding Negativity (SPN)—a slow cortical wave measuring emotional anticipation processes. 20 immersed, highly proficient Polish-English bilinguals viewed word-picture pairs while undergoing electrophysiological recording. Participants were asked to determine upon seeing the picture whether or not it was congruent with the preceding prime cue. Each positive picture (n=62) was paired with a positive and a neutral prime in L1 and L2; each negative picture (n=62) was paired with a negative and a neutral prime in L1 and L2. Incongruent pairs were created by rotating primes and pictures within each valence category. In the experiment, a prime cue (e.g. accident) was presented for a randomized interval ranging between 300 and 400ms (in steps of 10), followed by an interstimulus interval of 3,800 ms—the ancitipation stage. Subsequently, a picture was flashed for 200 ms followed by a blank response window for 2,300 ms. The results demonstrate reduced SPN to negative word-picture pairs in English only and a more negative N400 to incongruent word-picture pairs regardless of language of operation. These findings provide novel evidence that operating in L2 may decrease the electrophysiological activity to upcoming negative stimuli, which may have implications for therapy and stress-management in a bilingual context.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Emotion-cognition interactions