The neural basis of free language choice in bilingual speakers: Disentangling language choice and language execution

Description: Abstract: For everyday communication bilingual speakers need to face the complex task of rapidly choosing the most appropriate language given the context, maintaining this choice over the current communicative act, and shielding lexical selection from competing alternatives from non-target languages. Yet, speech production of bilinguals is typically flawless and fluent. Most of the studies available to date constrain speakers' language choice by cueing the target language and conflate language choice with language use. This left largely unexplored the neural mechanisms underlying free language choice, i.e., the voluntary situation of choosing the language to speak. In this study, we used fMRI and Multivariate Pattern Analysis to identify brain regions encoding the target language when bilinguals are free to choose in which language to name pictures. We found that the medial prefrontal cortex encoded the chosen language prior to speaking. By contrast, during language use, language control recruited a wider brain network including the left inferior frontal lobe, the basal ganglia, and the angular and inferior parietal gyrus bilaterally. None of these regions were involved in language choice. We argue that the control processes involved in language choice are different from those involved in language use. Furthermore, our findings confirm that the medial prefrontal cortex is a domain-general region critical for free choice and that bilingual language choice relies on domain-general processes.

Related article:

View ID Name Type
Field Value
Compact Identifier
Add DateMay 8, 2018, 10:15 p.m.
Uploaded bycarloreve
Related article DOI10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.05.025
Related article authorsCarlo Reverberi, Anna K. Kuhlen, Shima Seyed-Allaei, R.Stefan Greulich, Albert Costa, Jubin Abutalebi and John-Dylan Haynes
Citation guidelines

If you use the data from this collection please include the following persistent identifier in the text of your manuscript:

This will help to track the use of this data in the literature. In addition, consider also citing the paper related to this collection.