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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Hum. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2019.00364

Do Changes in Language Context Affect Visual Memory in Bilinguals?

  • 1Hofstra University, United States

Language is often present when people are encoding visual memories. For bilinguals, this language context can have different forms (i.e., Language A, Language B, or both Language A and B), and can change over the course of events. The current study examined whether a change in language context during a visual event or between visual events affects a bilingual’s ability to remember visual information. English-Spanish bilinguals and control participants encoded three lists of novel shapes amid different task-irrelevant language contexts. Following each list, participants completed a free recall test in which they drew the novel shapes they remembered. Results indicated that a change in language context between events, but not during events, affected visual memory. Specifically, the switch in language context between the second and third event (such as an English context in list 2 switching to a Spanish context in list 3) produced a reliable memory advantage for the English-Spanish bilinguals (relative to the control participants). The results offer preliminary evidence that task-irrelevant language context can influence a bilingual’s ability to remember non-linguistic information, as well as further evidence for context effects and multi-sensory effects in memory

Keywords: Language, Memory, bilingualism, context, multisensory

Received: 30 Jun 2019; Accepted: 27 Sep 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Schroeder. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Scott R. Schroeder, Hofstra University, Hempstead, United States, scott.r.schroeder@hofstra.edu