Date of Award

2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Baird, Anne (Psychology)

Keywords

Psychology, Clinical.

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

Bilingual lexical access is apparently exhaustive: representations from both languages are activated when reading in either language. This study investigated the roles of proficiency and word frequency in bilingual processing using interlingual homographs; words with identical orthography across two languages but different meanings. Semantic representations from both languages should be activated, resulting in inhibition of the incorrect meaning. Participants read sentences ending with homographs in their second language, French, and a lexical decision followed. Some stimuli were translations of English homograph meanings to French; lingering semantic inhibition was expected to influence reaction time to these stimuli. Lexical decisions were longer for homograph translations than control words, as expected, and the level of inhibition did not differ between proficiency groups. Low proficiency participants made more errors, and more errors were made on stimuli based on low frequency homographs. Results are discussed in relation to theory, neuroimaging studies, and neuropsychological research.

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