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. 2019 May 14;9(5):110.
doi: 10.3390/brainsci9050110.

The Neural Correlates of Conflict Detection and Resolution During Multiword Lexical Selection: Evidence From Bilinguals and Monolinguals

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Free PMC article

The Neural Correlates of Conflict Detection and Resolution During Multiword Lexical Selection: Evidence From Bilinguals and Monolinguals

Manuel F Pulido et al. Brain Sci. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Previous studies have identified the Event Related Potential (ERP) components of conflict detection and resolution mechanisms in tasks requiring lexical selection at the individual word level. We investigated the brain potentials associated with these mechanisms in a lexical selection task based on multiword units made up of verb-noun combinations (e.g., eat breakfast, skip school). Native and non-native English speakers were asked to select a familiarized target verb-noun sequence (eat breakfast) between two choices. Trials were low-conflict, with only one plausible candidate (e.g., eat - shoot - breakfast) or high-conflict, with two plausible verbs (e.g., eat - skip - breakfast). Following the presentation of the noun, native English speakers showed a biphasic process of selection, with a conflict-detection centro-parietal negativity between 500 and 600 ms (Ninc), followed by a right frontal effect (RFE) between 600 and 800 ms preceding responses. Late Spanish-English bilinguals showed a similar but more sustained and more widespread effect. Additionally, brain activity was only significantly correlated with performance in native speakers. Results suggest largely similar basic mechanisms, but also that different resources and strategies are engaged by non-native speakers when resolving conflict in the weaker language, with a greater focus on individual words than on multiword units.

Keywords: ERPs; bilingualism; collocations; conflict; lexical selection; multiword units.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest. The funders had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, or in the decision to publish the results.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Sample trial of the Lexical Selection Task.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Accuracy in selection of the target verb by condition. Error bars indicate 95% confidence intervals.
Figure 3
Figure 3
RTs for selection of the target verb by Group. The figure shows the RTs of trials with correct responses. Error bars indicate 95% confidence intervals.
Figure 4
Figure 4
ERP waveforms at (a) FC6 (right frontocentral) and (b) CP1 (left centroparietal). The legend shows examples for each condition, with the target verb capitalized. Grey bars underneath show the time points of significant effects in running t-tests within the pre-defined 500–800 ms time window. Boxes show the three time windows analyzed. The arrow in (b) indicates the Ninc effect. Negativity is plotted up.
Figure 4
Figure 4
ERP waveforms at (a) FC6 (right frontocentral) and (b) CP1 (left centroparietal). The legend shows examples for each condition, with the target verb capitalized. Grey bars underneath show the time points of significant effects in running t-tests within the pre-defined 500–800 ms time window. Boxes show the three time windows analyzed. The arrow in (b) indicates the Ninc effect. Negativity is plotted up.
Figure 5
Figure 5
Scalp topographies of the difference waves showing the effects of (a,b) Distractor Plausibility (Plausible-Implausible) and (c,d) Order (TD – DT in plausible trials) in the 500–600 ms and 650–800 ms time windows, respectively.
Figure 6
Figure 6
ERP waveforms for non-native speakers at (a) FC6 (right frontocentral) and (b) CP1 (left centroparietal). The legend shows examples for each condition, with the target verb capitalized. Grey bars underneath show the time points of significant effects in running t-tests within the pre-defined 500–950 ms time window. Boxes show the three time windows analyzed. The arrow in (b) indicates the Ninc effect. Negativity is plotted up.
Figure 6
Figure 6
ERP waveforms for non-native speakers at (a) FC6 (right frontocentral) and (b) CP1 (left centroparietal). The legend shows examples for each condition, with the target verb capitalized. Grey bars underneath show the time points of significant effects in running t-tests within the pre-defined 500–950 ms time window. Boxes show the three time windows analyzed. The arrow in (b) indicates the Ninc effect. Negativity is plotted up.
Figure 7
Figure 7
Scalp topographies of the difference waves in non-native speakers, showing the effects of (a,b) Distractor Plausibility (Plausible–Implausible) and (c,d) Order (TD–DT in plausible trials) in the 600–800 ms and 800–950 ms time windows, respectively.

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