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Neural correlates of compound head position in language control: Evidence from simultaneous production and comprehension

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 January 2024

Shuang Liu
Research Center of Brain and Cognitive Neuroscience, Liaoning Normal University, Liaoning Province, 116029 Dalian, China Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Neuroscience, Liaoning Province, 116029 Dalian, China Beijing Key Laboratory of Applied Experimental Psychology, National Demonstration Center for Experimental Psychology Education, Faculty of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, 100875 Beijing, China
Junjun Huang
Research Center of Brain and Cognitive Neuroscience, Liaoning Normal University, Liaoning Province, 116029 Dalian, China Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Neuroscience, Liaoning Province, 116029 Dalian, China
Zehui Xing
Research Center of Brain and Cognitive Neuroscience, Liaoning Normal University, Liaoning Province, 116029 Dalian, China Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Neuroscience, Liaoning Province, 116029 Dalian, China
John W. Schwieter
Language Acquisition, Multilingualism, and Cognition Laboratory / Bilingualism Matters @ Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada Department of Linguistics and Languages, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada
Huanhuan Liu*
Research Center of Brain and Cognitive Neuroscience, Liaoning Normal University, Liaoning Province, 116029 Dalian, China Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Neuroscience, Liaoning Province, 116029 Dalian, China
Corresponding author: Huanhuan Liu; Email:


Compound words consist of two or more words which combine to form a single word or phrase that acts as one. In English, the head of compound words is usually, but not always, the right-most root (e.g., “paycheck” is a noun because the head, “check,” is a noun). The current study explores the effects of head position on language control by examining language switching performance through electroencephalography (EEG). Twenty-one pairs of Chinese (L1)–English (L2) bilinguals performed cued language switching in a simultaneous production and comprehension task. The results showed that bilinguals recognized the head position earlier both in production and comprehension. However, the language control of the head position during production occurred in the middle stage (N2), but in the late stage (LPC) during comprehension. These findings indicate that the head position in compound words exerts differential influences on language control.

Research Article
Copyright © The Author(s), 2024. Published by Cambridge University Press

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