Research Topic

Bilingualism and cognitive control

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Research on bilingual language processing reveals an important role for control processes that enable bilinguals to negotiate the potential competition across their two languages. The requirement for control that enables bilinguals to speak the intended language and to switch between languages has also been ...

Research on bilingual language processing reveals an important role for control processes that enable bilinguals to negotiate the potential competition across their two languages. The requirement for control that enables bilinguals to speak the intended language and to switch between languages has also been suggested to confer a set of cognitive consequences for executive function that extend beyond language to domain general cognitive skills. Many recent studies have examined aspects of how cognitive control is manifest during bilingual language processing, how individual differences in cognitive resources influence second language learning and performance, and the range of cognitive tasks that appear to be influenced by bilingualism. However, not all studies demonstrate a bilingual advantage in all tasks that tap into cognitive control. Indeed, many questions are unanswered that are critical to our understanding of bilingual control: What aspects of cognitive control are enhanced for proficient bilinguals? How are individual differences in cognitive control related to language acquisition, proficiency, or professional translation skill? How does the language environment affect concurrent processing? How exactly does language control come about in tasks such as speech production, switching between languages, or translation? When and how does inhibitory processing support language control?

The focus of this Research Topic is on executive control and bilingualism. The goal is to have a broad scope that includes all of these issues. We seek empirical contributions using different methodologies including behavioral, computational and neuroscience approaches. We also welcome theoretical contributions that provide detailed discussion of models or mechanisms that account for the relationship between bilingualism and cognitive control. We aim to provide a platform for new contributions that represent a state-of-the art overview of approaches to cognitive control in bilingualism. We hope that this Research Topic will enable the field to formulate more precise hypotheses and causal models on the relation between individual differences, cognitive control and bilingual language processing.


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