Interference control at the response level: Functional networks reveal higher efficiency in the bilingual brain

Pierre Berroir, Ladan Ghazi-Saidi, Tanya Dash, Daniel Adrover-Roig, Habib Benali, Ana Inés Ansaldo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

The bilingual advantage in interference control tasks has been studied with the Simon task, among others. The mixed evidence from the existing studies has led to contradictions in the literature regarding the bilingual advantage. Moreover, fMRI evidence on the neural basis of interference control mechanisms with the Simon task is limited. Previous work by our team showed that equivalent performance on the Simon task was associated with different activation maps in elderly bilinguals and monolinguals. This study aims to provide a more in-depth perspective on the neural bases of performance on the Simon task in elderly bilinguals and monolinguals, by adopting a network perspective for the functional connectivity analysis. A node-by-node analysis led to the identification of the specific topology that characterized the bilingual and monolingual functional networks and the degree of connectivity between each node across groups. Results showed greater connectivity in bilinguals in the inferior temporal sulcus, which plays a role in visuospatial processing. On the other hand, in monolinguals, brain areas involved in visual, motor, executive functions and interference control were more connected to resolve the same task. In other words, in comparison to the monolingual brain, the bilingual brain resolves visuospatial interference economically, by allocating fewer and more clustered regions. These results demonstrate a larger global efficiency in task performance in bilinguals as compared to monolinguals. Also, the provided evidence filters out the task-specific so-called bilingual advantage discussed in the literature and posits that bilinguals are strategically more efficient in a given performance than monolinguals, thus enhancing our understanding of successful aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-16
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neurolinguistics
Volume43
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Bilingualism
  • Functional connectivity
  • Interference control
  • Neural networks
  • Simon task
  • Small-world networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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