Bilingual language interference initiates error detection: Evidence from language intrusions


  • Declerck Mathieu
  • Lemhofer Kristin
  • Grainger Jonathan

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In the current study, we investigated bilingual error detection by measuring the repair rate of language intrusions (i.e., involuntary production of nontarget language words) that arose while bilinguals produced sentences in a language switching context. This allowed us to compare two prominent accounts of error detection in a bilingual setting. According to the conflict monitoring account, error detection is initiated by interference. Since language switching increases bilingual language interference, error detection should be better in switch relative to repetition trials. According to the perceptual loop theory, error detection is based on language comprehension. Since language switching is known to impair language comprehension, it follows that error detection should be worse in switch relative to repetition trials. The results showed that the repair rate of language intrusions was higher in switch than repetition trials, thus providing evidence that bilingual language interference instigates error detection, in line with the conflict monitoring account.

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