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Language control in bilingual language comprehension: evidence from the maze task.

Wang X - Front Psychol (2015)

Bottom Line: The key findings are: (1) switch costs were observed in both L1-L2 and L2-L1 directions; (2) these effects were driven by two mechanisms: lexical activation and inhibitory control; (3) language dominance modulated the lexical effects, but did not affect the inhibitory effects.These results suggest that a language control mechanism is involved in bilingual reading, even though the control process is not driven by selection as in production.At the theoretical level, these results lend support for the Inhibitory Control model during language switching in comprehension; while the BIA/BIA+ model needs to incorporate a top-down control mechanism to be able to explain the current findings.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Education, University of Oxford Oxford, UK.

ABSTRACT
Most empirical evidence on switch costs is based on bilingual production and interpreted as a result of inhibitory control. It is unclear whether such a top-down control process exists in language switching during comprehension. This study investigates whether a non-lexical switch cost is involved in reading code-switched sentences and its relation to language dominance with cross-script bilingual readers. A maze task is adopted in order to separate top-down inhibitory effects, from lexical effects driven by input. The key findings are: (1) switch costs were observed in both L1-L2 and L2-L1 directions; (2) these effects were driven by two mechanisms: lexical activation and inhibitory control; (3) language dominance modulated the lexical effects, but did not affect the inhibitory effects. These results suggest that a language control mechanism is involved in bilingual reading, even though the control process is not driven by selection as in production. At the theoretical level, these results lend support for the Inhibitory Control model during language switching in comprehension; while the BIA/BIA+ model needs to incorporate a top-down control mechanism to be able to explain the current findings.

No MeSH data available.


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Mentions: This can be achieved by using a different reading paradigm, the maze task (Forster et al., 2009; Forster, 2010). In this task, the objective for the participant is to continue a sentence – from the first word/trial to the last word/trial – by choosing one of two alternatives presented on the computer screen (i.e., a word “maze”). The participant was presented with two words/alternatives at a time, only one of which was grammatically acceptable to continue the sentence. If the participant chose an incorrect word, an error message appeared and a new sentence would begin (see Figure 1, more on this in the Materials and Methods section). Empirical evidence suggests that the maze task is sensitive to frequency effects and closely corresponds with data generated from other reading paradigms, such as eye-tracking (Witzel et al., 2012). One advantage of this task, compared to other reading paradigms, is that it forces the reader into a strictly incremental mode of processing with little spill-over effects (Forster et al., 2009). Eye-tracking places few restrictions on the way participants approach reading and allows for strategies on any given item in reading a sentence. Therefore, spill-over effects occur if the gaze is shifted to the next word too quickly before it has been completely processed. In a similar way, participants might adopt a strategy whereby they press the button to move on to the next word as soon as they have recognized the word and integrated it into the developing sentence representation in a self-paced reading task. This strategy would buffer each word for reconstruction later in the sentence, leading to spill-over effects. However, the maze task limits these strategies (e.g., ‘wait-and-see’) available to participants by forcing them to process each word carefully enough to continue the sentence. In this way, the maze task has the potential to provide highly localized indications of processing time differences during online sentence comprehension. Thus it should indicate processing time differences at precisely the words predicted to yield such effects. And although processing time differences incurred at a given point in a sentence could influence decisions on subsequent words (i.e., lead to “spillover” effects), empirical evidence shows that these effects were not reliable (Forster et al., 2009; Witzel et al., 2012). The other advantage is that the task cannot be performed unless the sentence is understood. These merits of this paradigm would allow us to measure the same input/word, not being confounded by spill-over effects, by manipulating the preceding words/trials (switch vs. non-switch).


Language control in bilingual language comprehension: evidence from the maze task.

Wang X - Front Psychol (2015)

The rain fell silently.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4543796&req=5

Figure 1: The rain fell silently.
Mentions: This can be achieved by using a different reading paradigm, the maze task (Forster et al., 2009; Forster, 2010). In this task, the objective for the participant is to continue a sentence – from the first word/trial to the last word/trial – by choosing one of two alternatives presented on the computer screen (i.e., a word “maze”). The participant was presented with two words/alternatives at a time, only one of which was grammatically acceptable to continue the sentence. If the participant chose an incorrect word, an error message appeared and a new sentence would begin (see Figure 1, more on this in the Materials and Methods section). Empirical evidence suggests that the maze task is sensitive to frequency effects and closely corresponds with data generated from other reading paradigms, such as eye-tracking (Witzel et al., 2012). One advantage of this task, compared to other reading paradigms, is that it forces the reader into a strictly incremental mode of processing with little spill-over effects (Forster et al., 2009). Eye-tracking places few restrictions on the way participants approach reading and allows for strategies on any given item in reading a sentence. Therefore, spill-over effects occur if the gaze is shifted to the next word too quickly before it has been completely processed. In a similar way, participants might adopt a strategy whereby they press the button to move on to the next word as soon as they have recognized the word and integrated it into the developing sentence representation in a self-paced reading task. This strategy would buffer each word for reconstruction later in the sentence, leading to spill-over effects. However, the maze task limits these strategies (e.g., ‘wait-and-see’) available to participants by forcing them to process each word carefully enough to continue the sentence. In this way, the maze task has the potential to provide highly localized indications of processing time differences during online sentence comprehension. Thus it should indicate processing time differences at precisely the words predicted to yield such effects. And although processing time differences incurred at a given point in a sentence could influence decisions on subsequent words (i.e., lead to “spillover” effects), empirical evidence shows that these effects were not reliable (Forster et al., 2009; Witzel et al., 2012). The other advantage is that the task cannot be performed unless the sentence is understood. These merits of this paradigm would allow us to measure the same input/word, not being confounded by spill-over effects, by manipulating the preceding words/trials (switch vs. non-switch).

Bottom Line: The key findings are: (1) switch costs were observed in both L1-L2 and L2-L1 directions; (2) these effects were driven by two mechanisms: lexical activation and inhibitory control; (3) language dominance modulated the lexical effects, but did not affect the inhibitory effects.These results suggest that a language control mechanism is involved in bilingual reading, even though the control process is not driven by selection as in production.At the theoretical level, these results lend support for the Inhibitory Control model during language switching in comprehension; while the BIA/BIA+ model needs to incorporate a top-down control mechanism to be able to explain the current findings.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Education, University of Oxford Oxford, UK.

ABSTRACT
Most empirical evidence on switch costs is based on bilingual production and interpreted as a result of inhibitory control. It is unclear whether such a top-down control process exists in language switching during comprehension. This study investigates whether a non-lexical switch cost is involved in reading code-switched sentences and its relation to language dominance with cross-script bilingual readers. A maze task is adopted in order to separate top-down inhibitory effects, from lexical effects driven by input. The key findings are: (1) switch costs were observed in both L1-L2 and L2-L1 directions; (2) these effects were driven by two mechanisms: lexical activation and inhibitory control; (3) language dominance modulated the lexical effects, but did not affect the inhibitory effects. These results suggest that a language control mechanism is involved in bilingual reading, even though the control process is not driven by selection as in production. At the theoretical level, these results lend support for the Inhibitory Control model during language switching in comprehension; while the BIA/BIA+ model needs to incorporate a top-down control mechanism to be able to explain the current findings.

No MeSH data available.