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    A bilingual advantage in controlling language interference during sentence comprehension

    Filippi, R. and Leech, R. and Thomas, Michael S.C. and Green, D. and Dick, Frederic (2012) A bilingual advantage in controlling language interference during sentence comprehension. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 15 (4), pp. 858-872. ISSN 1366-7289.

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    Abstract

    This study compared the comprehension of syntactically simple with more complex sentences in Italian–English adult bilinguals and monolingual controls in the presence or absence of sentence-level interference. The task was to identify the agent of the sentence and we primarily examined the accuracy of response. The target sentence was signalled by the gender of the speaker, either a male or a female, and this varied over trials, where the target was spoken in a male voice the distractor was spoken in a female voice and vice versa. In contrast to other work showing a bilingual disadvantage in sentence comprehension under conditions of noise, we show that in this task, where voice permits selection of the target, adult bilingual speakers are in fact better able than their monolingual Italian peers to resist sentence-level interference when comprehension demands are high. Within bilingual speakers we also found that degree of proficiency in English correlated with the ability to resist interference for complex sentences both when the target and distractor were in Italian and when the target was in English and the distractor in Italian.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): bilingualism, inhibition, executive function, sentence interpretation, control of interference
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
    Research Centre: Educational Neuroscience, Centre for, Birkbeck Knowledge Lab, Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 07 May 2015 09:36
    Last Modified: 09 Dec 2016 11:15
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/12073

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