Task switching and bilingualism in young and older adults: A behavioral and electrophysiological investigation
López Zunini, Rocio A.
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Rocío A. López Zunini, Cassandra Morrison, Shanna Kousaie, Vanessa Taler, Task switching and bilingualism in young and older adults: A behavioral and electrophysiological investigation, Neuropsychologia, Volume 133, 2019, 107186, ISSN 0028-3932, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2019.107186.
The current study investigated behavioral and electrophysiological (event-related potential; ERP) differences associated with task switching in a sample of young and older monolingual and bilingual adults. ERPs associated with task preparation (switch and mixing positivity) and task execution processes (N2 and P3b) were investigated. Participants performed a cued letter-number task switching paradigm that included single task and mixed task blocks, while their electroencephalography was recorded. Behavioral results revealed smaller switch and mixing costs in bilinguals relative to monolinguals, in both young and older participants. There were no ERP differences in the effect size of the cue-locked mixing and switch positivities, nor the target-locked mixing and switch N2 and P3b components. However, overall larger target-locked N2 amplitudes were observed in bilinguals relative to monolinguals. In addition, bilingual older adults exhibited smaller P3b amplitudes than monolingual older adults. The smaller behavioral mixing and switch costs observed in bilinguals suggest that bilinguals exhibit superior sustained attention and faster task-set reconfiguration processes compared to monolinguals. The ERP measures provide evidence for differences in brain processes between monolinguals and bilinguals and a reliance on different processing strategies in bilingual compared to monolingual older adults.