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On the specificity of bilingual language control: A study with Parkinson's disease patients

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 July 2019

Gabriele Cattaneo*
Center for Brain and Cognition, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain
Albert Costa
Center for Brain and Cognition, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain
Alexandre Gironell
ICREA, Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats, Barcelona, Spain Movement Disorders Unit, Neurology Department, Sant Pau Hospital, Barcelona, Spain
Marco Calabria
Center for Brain and Cognition, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain
Address for correspondence: Gabriele Cattaneo, E-mail:


This study investigates the relationship between mechanisms involved in language control within dual- and single-language contexts by examining whether they are similarly impaired in bilingual PD patients. To do so, we explored the performance of bilingual individuals affected by PD and healthy controls on two linguistic tasks: between-language and within-language switching tasks. We focused on switch and mixing costs as measures of linguistic control.

The results indicate that, whereas larger switch costs were observed in PD patients, compared to controls, solely during the between-language task, larger mixing costs appeared during both the between-language task and the within-language task. These results are discussed within the framework of the dual mechanism hypothesis, which suggests that switch and mixing costs are measures of two types of control: specifically reactive and proactive control. Therefore, we conclude that reactive control for switching between languages is domain-specific while proactive control mechanisms are more domain-general.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019

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