Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Brain Lang. 2014 Jan;128(1):34-40. doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2013.11.006. Epub 2014 Jan 9.

Bilingualism increases neural response consistency and attentional control: evidence for sensory and cognitive coupling.

Author information

1
Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, Evanston, IL, USA(2); Bilingualism and Psycholinguistics Laboratory, Evanston, IL, USA; Department of Communication Sciences, Evanston, IL, USA; Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA.
2
Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, Evanston, IL, USA(2); Department of Communication Sciences, Evanston, IL, USA; Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA.
3
Bilingualism and Psycholinguistics Laboratory, Evanston, IL, USA; Department of Communication Sciences, Evanston, IL, USA; Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA.
4
Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, Evanston, IL, USA(2); Department of Communication Sciences, Evanston, IL, USA; Institute for Neuroscience, Evanston, IL, USA; Department of Neurobiology and Physiology, Evanston, IL, USA; Department of Otolaryngology, Evanston, IL, USA; Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA. Electronic address: nkraus@northwestern.edu.

Abstract

Auditory processing is presumed to be influenced by cognitive processes - including attentional control - in a top-down manner. In bilinguals, activation of both languages during daily communication hones inhibitory skills, which subsequently bolster attentional control. We hypothesize that the heightened attentional demands of bilingual communication strengthens connections between cognitive (i.e., attentional control) and auditory processing, leading to greater across-trial consistency in the auditory evoked response (i.e., neural consistency) in bilinguals. To assess this, we collected passively-elicited auditory evoked responses to the syllable [da] in adolescent Spanish-English bilinguals and English monolinguals and separately obtained measures of attentional control and language ability. Bilinguals demonstrated enhanced attentional control and more consistent brainstem and cortical responses. In bilinguals, but not monolinguals, brainstem consistency tracked with language proficiency and attentional control. We interpret these enhancements in neural consistency as the outcome of strengthened attentional control that emerged from experience communicating in two languages.

KEYWORDS:

Auditory; Bilingualism; Brainstem; Electrophysiology

PMID:
24413593
PMCID:
PMC3923605
DOI:
10.1016/j.bandl.2013.11.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center