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Executive control in bilinguals: A concise review on fMRI studies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 March 2016

CHRISTOS PLIATSIKAS*
Affiliation:
Department of Clinical Language Sciences, School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading
GIGI LUK
Affiliation:
Harvard Graduate School of Education
*
Address for correspondence: Christos Pliatsikas, Ph. D., University of Reading, Department of Clinical Language Sciences, School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, Reading, RG6 6AL, UK. c.pliatsikas@reading.ac.uk

Abstract

The investigation of bilingualism and cognition has been enriched by recent developments in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Extending how bilingual experience shapes cognition, this review examines recent fMRI studies adopting executive control tasks with minimal or no linguistic demands. Across a range of studies with divergent ages and language pairs spoken by bilinguals, brain regions supporting executive control significantly overlap with brain regions recruited for language control (Abutalebi & Green). Furthermore, limited but emerging studies on resting-state networks are addressed, which suggest more coherent spatially distributed functional connectivity in bilinguals. Given the dynamic nature of bilingual experience, it is essential to consider both task-related functional networks (externally-driven engagement), and resting-state networks, such as default mode network (internal control). Both types of networks are important elements of bilingual language control, which relies on domain-general executive control.

Type
Perspective
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 

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