Is language control just a form of executive control? Evidence for overlapping processes in language switching and task switching


  • Declerck Mathieu
  • Grainger Jonathan
  • Koch Iring
  • Philipp Andrea M.


  • Language switching
  • Task switching
  • Language control
  • Executive control

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Whereas some models claim that language control is part of more general executive control, others have proposed that there is little overlap between these two processes. To shed light on this controversy, we compared switching effects observed in closely matched language switching and task switching tasks. The correlation analyses showed a positive moderate to strong correlation between the two switching variants in all three experiments. The results further showed that language-and task-switch costs differed although the cues, stimuli, response modality, and the number of response alternatives were identical across the two switching variants (Experiments 1), and when additionally the same linguistic tasks (picture naming/category naming) were used in both switching variants (Experiment 3), at least for the error rates. However, similar language-and task-switch costs were obtained when the same non-linguistic tasks (parity/magnitude) were used (Experiment 2). These results point towards overlapping mechanisms for language control and executive control. (C) 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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