This study investigated how natural language use influences inhibition in language-unbalanced bilinguals. We experimentally induced natural patterns of language use (as proposed by the Adaptive Control Hypothesis) and assessed their cognitive after-effects in a group of 32 Polish-English bilinguals. Each participant took part in a series of three language games involving real conversation. Each game was followed by two inhibition tasks (stop-signal task and Stroop task). The manipulation of language use in the form of language games did not affect the behavioural measures, but it did affect ERPs. Performance of the inhibition tasks was accompanied by a reduction of P3 and the N450 amplitude differences after games involving the use of L2. The ERP modulations suggest that for bilinguals living in an L1 context the use of L2 enhances neural mechanisms related to inhibition. The study provides the first evidence for a direct influence of natural language use on inhibition.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language