Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-684bc48f8b-rk5l8 Total loading time: 3.086 Render date: 2021-04-14T02:26:06.167Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true }

The effect of task complexity on linguistic and non-linguistic control mechanisms in bilingual aphasia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 January 2018

Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, San Francisco State University
Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, Boston University
E-mail address:


In this study we examined linguistic and non-linguistic control mechanisms in 20 Spanish–English neurologically healthy bilingual adults and 13 Spanish–English bilingual adults with aphasia. Participants completed two linguistic and two non-linguistic control tasks accounting for low and high complexity. Healthy bilingual results were indicative of domain general cognitive control, whereas patient results were indicative of domain specific cognitive control. The magnitude of conflict required to complete the tasks was also examined. Healthy bilinguals exhibited significant amounts of conflict on all tasks and linguistic and non-linguistic conflict ratios were correlated; whereas patient results revealed significant conflict only on non-linguistic tasks and those conflict ratios were not correlated with linguistic conflict ratios, indicating a dissociation between how patients are controlling information in these two domains. Finally, a relationship between language impairment and language control was identified and brain damage was associated with linguistic and non-linguistic task performance.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.


The authors would like to thank the participants and their families, as well as Chaleece Sandberg, Sofia Valilla Rohter, and Sarah Villard.

Supplementary material can be found online at


Aron, A. R. (2007). The neural basis of inhibition in cognitive control. Neuroscientist 13 (3), 214–28. doi:10.1177/1073858407299288CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bialystok, E., Craik, F., & Luk, G. (2008). Cognitive control and lexical access in younger and older bilinguals. Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 166 (4), 859873.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Branzi, F. M., Calabria, M., Boscarino, M. L., & Costa, A. (2016). On the overlap between bilingual language control and domain-general executive control. Acta psychologica, 166, 2130.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Calabria, M., Branzi, F. M., Marne, P., Hernández, M., & Costa, A. (2015). Age-related effects over bilingual language control and executive control. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 18 (65), 6578.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Calabria, M., Hernández, M., Branzi, F. M., & Costa, A. (2012). Qualitative Differences between Bilingual Language Control and Executive Control: Evidence from Task-Switching. Frontiers in Psychology, 2:399. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00399CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Coltheart, M., Kay, J., & Lesser, R. (1995). La Evaluación del Procesamiento Lingüístico en la Afasia. New York, NY: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
Costa, A., & Caramazza, A. (1999). Is lexical selection language specific? Further evidence from Spanish–English bilinguals. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition. 2, 231244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Costa, A., & Santesteban, M. (2004). Lexical access in bilingual speech production: Evidence from language switching in highly proficient bilinguals and L2 learners. Journal of memory and Language, 50 (4), 491511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Costa, A., Santesteban, M., & Ivanova, I. (2006). How do highly proficient bilinguals control their lexicalization process? Inhibitory and language-specific selection mechanisms are both functional. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 32 (5), 1057.Google ScholarPubMed
Dash, T., & Kar, B. R. (2014). Bilingual language control and general purpose cognitive control among individuals with bilingual aphasia: evidence based on negative priming and flanker tasks. Behavioural neurology, 2014.Google Scholar
de Groot, A. M. (1992). Determinants of word translation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 18, 10011018.Google Scholar
Dijkstra, T., & van Heuven, W. J. B. (2002). The architecture of the bilingual word recognition system: From identification to decision. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 5 (03). doi:10.1017/S1366728902003012CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Festman, J., & Münte, T. F. (2012). Cognitive control in Russian-german bilinguals. Frontiers in Psychology, 3 (April), 115. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00115CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Festman, J., Rodriguez-Fornells, A., & Münte, T. F. (2010). Individual differences in control of language interference in late bilinguals are mainly related to general executive abilities. Behavioral and Brain Functions, 6, 5. doi:10.1186/1744-9081-6-5CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Friedman, N. P., & Miyake, A. (2004). The relations among inhibition and interference control functions: a latent-variable analysis. Journal of Experimental Psychology. General, 133 (1), 101–35. doi:10.1037/0096-3445.133.1.101CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Gray, T., & Kiran, S. (2013). A theoretical account of lexical and semantic naming deficits in bilingual aphasia. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 56 (4), 13141327.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Gray, T., & Kiran, S. (2016). The relationship between language control and cognitive control in bilingual aphasia. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 19 (03), 433452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Green, D. W. (1998). Mental control of the bilingual lexico-semantic system. Bilingualism: Language and cognition, 1 (02), 6781.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Green, D. W., Grogan, A., Crinion, J., Ali, N., Sutton, C., & Price, C. J. (2010). Language control and parallel recovery of language in individuals with aphasia. Aphasiology, 24 (2), 188209. doi:10.1080/02687030902958316CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Helm-Estabrooks, N. (2001). Cognitive Linguistic Quick Test. San Antonio, TX: Pearson.Google Scholar
Howard, D., & Patterson, K. (1992). Pyramids and Palm Trees Test. San Antonio, TX: Pearson.Google Scholar
Hula, W. D., & McNeil, M. R. (2008). Models of attention and dual-task performance as explanatory constructs in aphasia. Seminars in Speech and Language, 29 (3), 169187.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Hunting-Pompon, R., Kendall, D., & Moore, A. (2011). Examining attention and cognitive processing in participants with self-reported mild anomia. Aphasiology, 25 (6–7), 800812.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hunting-Pompon, R. H., McNeil, M. R., Spencer, K. A., & Kendall, D. L. (2015). Intentional and reactive inhibition during spoken-word Stroop task performance in people with aphasia. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 58 (3), 767780.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jurado, M. B., & Rosselli, M. (2007). The elusive nature of executive functions: a review of our current understanding. Neuropsychology Review, 17 (3), 213–33. doi:10.1007/s11065-007-9040-zCrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kaplan, E., Goodglass, H., & Weinraub, S. (2001). The Boston Naming Test (2nd ed.). Baltimore, MA: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins.Google Scholar
Kay, J., Coltheart, M., & Lesser, R. (2001). The Psycholinguistic Assessments of Language Processing in Aphasia. New York, NY: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
Kiran, S., Balachandran, I., & Lucas, J. (2014). The nature of lexical access in bilingual aphasia. Manuscript submitted for publication. Behavioral Neurology. Article ID 389565, 18 pages. ScholarPubMed
Kiran, S., Gray, T., Kapse, K., & Raney, T. (2013). Language Networks in English-Spanish bilinguals with and without aphasia. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 94, 4748.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kiran, S., Peña, E., Bedore, L., & Sheng, L. (2010). Evaluating the relationship between category generation and language use and proficiency. Paper presented at the Donostia Workshop on Neurobilingualism, San Sebastian, Spain.Google Scholar
Kroll, J., & Stewart, E. (1994). Category interference in translation and picture naming: Evidence for asymmetric connections between bilingual memory representations. Journal of Memory and Language, 33, 149174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Marian, V., Bartolotti, J., Chabal, S., & Shook, A. (2012). CLEARPOND: Cross-linguistic easy-access resource for phonological and orthographic neighborhood densities. PloS one, 7 (8), e43230.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Meuter, R., & Allport, A. (1999). Bilingual Language Switching in Naming: Asymmetrical Costs of Language Selection. Journal of Memory and Language, 40 (1), 2540. Retrieved from Scholar
Miller, E. K., & Cohen, J. D. (2001). An integrative theory of prefrontal cortex function. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 24, 167202. doi:10.1146/annurev.neuro.24.1.167CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Morford, J. P., Wilkinson, E., Villwock, A., Piñar, P., & Kroll, J. F. (2011). When deaf signers read English: Do written words activate their sign translations?.Cognition, 118 (2), 286292.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Murray, L. L. (2012). Attention and other cognitive deficits in aphasia: Presence and relation to language and communication measures. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 21 (2), S51–S64.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Paradis, M. (1989). The Bilingual Aphasia Test. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates (out of print). Online at Scholar
Prior, A., & Gollan, T. H. (2011). Good language-switchers are good task-switchers: evidence from Spanish–English and Mandarin-English bilinguals. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 17 (4), 682–91. doi:10.1017/S1355617711000580CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Prior, A., & MacWhinney, B. (2010). A bilingual advantage in task switching. Bilingualism: Language and cognition, 13 (02), 253262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Psychology Software Tools, Inc. (2012) [E-Prime 2.0].Google Scholar
Ridderinkhof, K.R., van den Wildenberg, W., & Wylie, S. (2011). Action Control in Times of Conflict: Analysis of Reaction Time Distributions in Healthy and Clinical Populations. In Posner, M. (Ed.), Cognitive Neuroscience of Attention (409420). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
Robin, D. A., & Rizzo, M. (1989). The effect of focal cerebral lesions on intramodal and cross-modal orienting of attention. Clinical Aphasiology, 18, 6174.Google Scholar
Soveri, A., Rodriguez-Fornells, A., & Laine, M. (2011). Is There a Relationship between Language Switching and Executive Functions in Bilingualism? Introducing a within group Analysis Approach. Frontiers in Psychology, 2 (August), 183. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Thierry, G., & Wu, Y. J. (2007). Brain potentials reveal unconscious translation during foreign-language comprehension. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104 (30), 1253012535.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Verreyt, N., De Letter, M., Hemelsoet, D., Santens, P., & Duyck, W. (2013). Cognate Effects and Executive Control in a Patient With Differential Bilingual Aphasia. Applied Neuropsychology. Adult, (June 2013), 3741. doi:10.1080/09084282.2012.753074Google Scholar
Weissberger, G. H., Wierenga, C. E., Bondi, M. W., & Gollan, T. H. (2012). Partially overlapping mechanisms of language and task control in young and older bilinguals. Psychology and Aging, 27 (4), 959–74. doi:10.1037/a0028281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Zhang, H., Kang, C., Wu, Y., Ma, F., & Guo, T. (2015). Improving proactive control with training on language switching in bilinguals. NeuroReport, 26 (6), 354359.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed

Gray and Kiran supplementary material

Tables S1-S2

File 39 KB

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 47
Total number of PDF views: 321 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 19th January 2018 - 14th April 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

The effect of task complexity on linguistic and non-linguistic control mechanisms in bilingual aphasia
Available formats

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

The effect of task complexity on linguistic and non-linguistic control mechanisms in bilingual aphasia
Available formats

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

The effect of task complexity on linguistic and non-linguistic control mechanisms in bilingual aphasia
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Your details

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *