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The present study examines the influence of language proficiency and language combination on bilingual lexical access using category fluency in 109 healthy speakers. Participants completed a category fluency task in each of their languages in three main categories (animals, clothing, and food), each with two subcategories, as well as a language use questionnaire assessing their proficiency. Five language combinations were examined (Hindi–English, Kannada–English, Mandarin–English, Spanish–English, and Turkish–English). Multivariate analyses of variance revealed that the average number of correct items named in the category fluency task across the three main categories varied across the different groups only in English and not the other language. Further, results showed that language exposure composite (extracted from the questionnaire using a principal component analysis) significantly affected the average number of items named across the three main categories. Overall, these results demonstrate the effects of particular language combinations on bilingual lexical access and provide important insights into the role of proficiency on access.
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.
This study examines language control deficits in bilingual aphasia in terms of domain specific cognitive control and domain general cognitive control. Thirty Spanish–English controls and ten Spanish–English adults with aphasia completed the flanker task and a word-pair relatedness judgment task. All participants exhibited congruency effects on the flanker task. On the linguistic task, controls did not show the congruency effect on the first level analysis. However, conflict ratios revealed that the control group exhibited significant effects of language control. Additionally, individual patient analysis revealed overall positive and negative effects of language control impairment and a benefit from semantically related word-pairs. Patient data suggest a dissociation between the mechanisms of language control and cognitive control, thus providing evidence for domain specific cognitive control. The influence of language proficiency on speed of translation was also examined. Generally, controls were faster when translating into their dominant language, whereas the patients did not show the same trends.
Current research on bilingual aphasia highlights the paucity in recommendations for optimal rehabilitation for bilingual aphasic patients (Edmonds & Kiran, 2006; Roberts & Kiran, 2007). In this paper, we have developed a computational model to simulate an English–Spanish bilingual language system in which language representations can vary by age of acquisition (AoA) and relative proficiency in the two languages to model individual participants. This model is subsequently lesioned by varying connection strengths between the semantic and phonological networks and retrained based on individual patient demographic information to evaluate whether or not the model's prediction of rehabilitation matches the actual treatment outcome. In most cases the model comes close to the target performance subsequent to language therapy in the language trained, indicating the validity of this model in simulating rehabilitation of naming impairment in bilingual aphasia. Additionally, the amount of cross-language transfer is limited both in the patient performance and in the model's predictions and is dependent on that specific patient's AoA, language exposure and language impairment. It also suggests how well alternative treatment scenarios would have fared, including some cases where the alternative would have done better. Overall, the study suggests how computational modeling could be used in the future to design customized treatment recipes that result in better recovery than is currently possible.
This study reports an activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis of published functional neuroimaging studies of bilingualism. Four parallel meta-analyses were conducted by taking into account the proficiency of participants reported in the studies. The results of the meta-analyses suggest differences in the probabilities of activation patterns between high proficiency and moderate/low proficiency bilinguals. The Talairach coordinates of activation in first language processing were very similar to that of second language processing in the high proficient bilinguals. However, in the low proficient group, the activation clusters were generally smaller and distributed over wider areas in both the hemispheres than the clusters identified in the ALE maps from the high proficient group. These findings draw attention to the importance of language proficiency in bilingual neural representation.
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