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The gender congruency effect during bilingual spoken-word recognition*


We investigate the ‘gender-congruency’ effect during a spoken-word recognition task using the visual world paradigm. Eye movements of Italian–Spanish bilinguals and Spanish monolinguals were monitored while they viewed a pair of objects on a computer screen. Participants listened to instructions in Spanish (encuentra la bufanda / ‘find the scarf’) and clicked on the object named in the instruction. Grammatical gender of the objects’ name was manipulated so that pairs of objects had the same (congruent) or different (incongruent) gender in Italian, but gender in Spanish was always congruent. Results showed that bilinguals, but not monolinguals, looked at target objects less when they were incongruent in gender, suggesting a between-language gender competition effect. In addition, bilinguals looked at target objects more when the definite article in the spoken instructions provided a valid cue to anticipate its selection (different-gender condition). The temporal dynamics of gender processing and cross-language activation in bilinguals are discussed.

Corresponding author
Address for Correspondence: Luis Morales, Mind, Brain and Behavior Research Center, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Granada, Campus de Cartuja s/n, 18071, Granada, Spain
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This research was supported in part by doctoral research grant from the Andalusian Government (P08-HUM-03600) to Luis Morales; grants EDU2008-01111 and CSD2008-00048 from the Spanish Ministry of Education to Teresa Bajo; grants P07-HUM-02510 and P08-HUM-03600 from the Andalusian Government to Teresa Bajo; grants PSI2013-46033-P from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiviness to Daniela Paolieri; National Science Foundation grant BCS-0821924 to Paola E. Dussias and Chip Gerfen, NSF Grants BCS-0955090 and OISE-0968369 to Paola E. Dussias, NIH Grant 1R21HD071758-01A1 to Paola E. Dussias, and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to Jorge Valdés Kroff.

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Bilingualism: Language and Cognition
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  • EISSN: 1469-1841
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