ERP Correlates of executive control during repeated language-switching

Georgina M. Jackson*, Rachel Swainson, Ross Cunnington, Stephen R. Jackson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A key aspect of higher cognitive function is the ability to switch rapidly and efficiently between alternative modes of response where this is appropriate behaviourally. Such suppression appears to be highly dependent upon the integrity of the prefrontal cortex, yet other cortical areas are likely to be necessary to implement response switching. Language switching in bilingual speakers is a clear example of a task in which response switching is required. Functional brain imaging studies have demonstrated parietal cortex activation during repeated language switching within a translation task. Here we used event-related dense-sensor EEG recording techniques to examine the time course of language switching during a visually cued naming task in which bilingual participants named digits in either their first or second language. Switch-related modulation of ERP components was evident over parietal and frontal cortices, and in the latter case showed an asymmetry across first and second languages. Correspondence with a frontal ERP component found when suppressing manual responding in a Go/No-Go reaction time task may imply that similar inhibitory mechanisms are involved in both response suppression and language switching.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-178
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2001


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