Executive and Language Control in the Multilingual Brain
AuthorKong, AP-H; Abutalebi, J; Lam, KS-Y; Weekes, B
Source TitleBehavioural Neurology: an international journal on the relationship between disordered human behavior and underlying biological mechanisms
University of Melbourne Author/sWeekes, Brendan
AffiliationMelbourne School of Psychological Sciences
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsKong, A. P. -H., Abutalebi, J., Lam, K. S. -Y. & Weekes, B. (2014). Executive and Language Control in the Multilingual Brain. BEHAVIOURAL NEUROLOGY, 2014, https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/527951.
Access StatusOpen Access
Neuroimaging studies suggest that the neural network involved in language control may not be specific to bi-/multilingualism but is part of a domain-general executive control system. We report a trilingual case of a Cantonese (L1), English (L2), and Mandarin (L3) speaker, Dr. T, who sustained a brain injury at the age of 77 causing lesions in the left frontal lobe and in the left temporo-parietal areas resulting in fluent aphasia. Dr. T's executive functions were impaired according to a modified version of the Stroop color-word test and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test performance was characterized by frequent perseveration errors. Dr. T demonstrated pathological language switching and mixing across her three languages. Code switching in Cantonese was more prominent in discourse production than confrontation naming. Our case suggests that voluntary control of spoken word production in trilingual speakers shares neural substrata in the frontobasal ganglia system with domain-general executive control mechanisms. One prediction is that lesions to such a system would give rise to both pathological switching and impairments of executive functions in trilingual speakers.
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