Poster: The role of executive control in bilingual language production: a study with Parkinson's disease patients

International Workshop on Language Production (iWOLP) 2014
Geneva, Switzerland

Cattaneo, G., Calabria, M., Marne, P., Gironell, A., Abutalebi, J. & Costa, A.

In the context of bilingualism, it has been reported that basal ganglia are critically involved in those mechanisms which allow bilingual speakers to control the use of two languages. In the present study we aim to investigate the integrity of the bilingual language control (bLC) mechanisms in Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients, a clinical population having structural and functional damages in basal ganglia. To test the integrity of bLC we compared the performance of Catalan-Spanish bilingual PD patients with those of healthy controls in tasks of language production and language control. To test language production, participants were required to name objects and actions in two languages (Catalan or Spanish) in two different sessions. To test language control, participants performed a linguistic version of the switching task. In this paradigm bilinguals named pictures in one language (single blocks) or in both languages depending on a cue (mixed blocks). Moreover, to test also the integrity of the executive control (EC), we compared the performances of PD and healthy controls in a non-linguistic switching task. The results showed several findings. First, PD patients compared to controls had poorer naming performances in both languages, larger switching cost and slower speed of processing in the language switching. Second, in a further analysis it was found that those PD patients who made more errors in the non-linguistic version of task switching were also more impaired in the language switching task, in the verbal fluency and in the picture naming. Finally, it was found a positive correlation between the magnitudes of linguistic and non-linguistic mixing costs. These results add new evidence on the role of EC and basal ganglia in bilingual language production and their relationship with the bLC system.