Verbal fluency as a measure of lexico-semantic access and cognitive control in bilingual aphasia
Rao, Leela A.
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The research on bilingual language processing explores two main avenues of relevance to the present study: lexico-semantic access and cognitive control. Lexico-semantic access research investigates the manner in which bilingual individuals retrieve single words from their lexical system. Healthy bilingual individuals can manipulate their lexico-semantic access to accommodate settings in which code- or language-switching is expected. Alternatively, they can manipulate their lexico-semantic access to speak only their first (L1) or second (L2) languages. Cognitive control, also known as executive functioning, is closely related to lexico-semantic access. Specifically, bilingual individuals maintain and switch between their languages through a mechanism known as cognitive control. Both cognitive control and lexico-semantic access are important for language processing in healthy bilingual individuals as well as bilingual persons with aphasia (BPWA). However, the extent to which BPWA utilize each of these processes in the production of single words is still unknown. The present study used a method of verbal fluency in the form of a novel modified category generation task to assess the relative contributions of lexico-semantic access and cognitive control in bilingual healthy controls and BPWA.
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