Two languages, two minds:flexible cognitive processing driven by language of operation

Athanasopoulos, Panos and Bylund, Emanuel and Montero-Melis, Guillermo and Damjanovic, Ljubica and Schartner, Alina and Kibbe, Alexandra and Riches, Nick and Thierry, Guillaume (2015) Two languages, two minds:flexible cognitive processing driven by language of operation. Psychological Science, 26 (4). pp. 518-526. ISSN 0956-7976

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Abstract

People make sense of objects and events around them by classifying them into identifiable categories. The extent to which language affects this process has been the focus of a long-standing debate: Do different languages cause their speakers to behave differently? Here, we show that fluent German-English bilinguals categorize motion events according to the grammatical constraints of the language in which they operate. First, as predicted from cross-linguistic differences in motion encoding, bilingual participants functioning in a German testing context prefer to match events on the basis of motion completion to a greater extent than do bilingual participants in an English context. Second, when bilingual participants experience verbal interference in English, their categorization behavior is congruent with that predicted for German; when bilingual participants experience verbal interference in German, their categorization becomes congruent with that predicted for English. These findings show that language effects on cognition are context-bound and transient, revealing unprecedented levels of malleability in human cognition.

Item Type: Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title: Psychological Science
Additional Information: The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Psychological Science, 26 (4), 2015, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2015 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Psychological Science page: http://pss.sagepub.com/ on SAGE Journals Online: http://online.sagepub.com/
Uncontrolled Keywords: /dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3200
Subjects:
Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Linguistics & English Language
ID Code: 73269
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 12 Mar 2015 08:52
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2020 02:13
URI: https://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/73269

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