Chapter 17. Top down influence on executive control in bilinguals

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In this chapter we present two eye tracking studies that examined if bilingualism modulated oculoomotor behavior in a Stroop task with a simultaneous working memory load. We consider two groups of bilinguals who differed with regard to their L2 (English) proficiency. Previous studies have shown that language proficiency can modulate executive control in bilinguals. Our results show that high proficient bilinguals were overall faster compared to low proficient bilinguals in responding to the correct Stroop target when the working memory item was a colour square and also when it was a location. However, language proficiency did not influence performance on the Stroop task. These studies with eye movements as dependent measure further demonstrate the fact that bilingualism can modulate executive control. We discuss the results with regard to down control of attention and automatic guidance of attention from items held in working memory with reference to bilingualism.


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