Alison Shell · [LSLT] Examining the role of inhibitory control in bilingual language switching: Evidence from dual task paradigms
Bilingual language production is widely believed to be a competitive process. Bilinguals may manage this competition by relying on inhibiting one language while speaking in the other. However, it remains unclear if this process relies on inhibitory mechanisms, and, if so, when and where during language production inhibitory control is applied. I will discuss some of the previous evidence for inhibitory control as well as address the findings from my own research which investigates these issues experimentally. I will present a set of experiments investigating the costs of switching between languages while simultaneously manipulating demand on inhibitory control. While an inhibitory control account would predict increased switch costs during high demand trials, the current study found switching costs were not exacerbated when inhibitory control was taxed; in fact language switching was less costly during inhibition-demanding trials. This pattern does not support the idea that general inhibitory control mechanisms underlie language switching, implications of these findings and future directions for this research will be discussed.