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Bilingual lexical access: A dynamic operation modulated by word-status and individual differences in inhibitory control

  • ARUNA SUDARSHAN (a1) (a2) and SHARI R. BAUM (a1) (a3)


A question central to bilingualism research is whether representations from the contextually inappropriate language compete for lexical selection during language production. It has been argued recently that the extent of interference from the non-target language may be contingent on a host of factors. In two studies, we investigated whether factors such as word-type and individual differences in inhibitory control capacities influence lexical selection via a cross-modal picture-word interference task and a non-linguistic Simon task. Highly proficient French–English bilinguals named non-cognate and cognate target pictures in L2 (English) while ignoring auditory distractors in L1 (French) and L2. Taken together, our results demonstrated that lexical representations from L1 are active and compete for selection when naming in L2, even in highly proficient bilinguals. However, the extent of cross-language activation was modulated by both word-type and individual differences in inhibitory control capacities.

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Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Aruna Sudarshan, 2001, McGill College, 8th Floor, Montreal, Quebec H3A


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*This research was supported by a Fonds de Recherche du Québec - Société et Culture (FRQSC) grant awarded to Dr. Shari R. Baum. The authors sincerely acknowledge the financial support received from the Graduate Scholar Stipend awarded to Aruna Sudarshan by the Centre for Research on Brain, Language and Music, McGill University.



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