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

Athanasopoulos, P, Bylund, E, Montero-Melis, G, Damjanovic, L, Schartner, A, Kibbe, A, Riches, N and Thierry, G (2015) Two languages, two minds: flexible cognitive processing driven by language of operation. Psychological Science, 26 (4). 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: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1701 Psychology, 1702 Cognitive Science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Psychology (new Sep 2019)
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2020 12:00
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2020 12:00
DOI or Identification number: 10.1177/0956797614567509
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/5875

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