We explored the temporal course of bilingual language control after-effects to shed light on the scope of language control (local vs. global) and on the way in which language control is implemented (L1 inhibition or L2 over-activation). High-proficient bilinguals named objects across three blocks, first in their L1, then in their L2, and then again in their L1 (and conversely) while event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were recorded. Behaviorally we found only the L1 as being hindered by previous naming in the L2. In the ERPs we did not observe inhibitory effects in the N2 component time-window. However, the P2 component showed more positive-going deflections when the previous language slowed down naming latencies of the successive language. The P2 mean amplitude predicted naming latencies whereas the N2 did not. We conclude that in high-proficient bilinguals the P2 component is the marker of language control mechanisms other than inhibition, which are applied globally.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-16
Number of pages15
Early online date18 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • Attention
  • Brain
  • Brain Mapping
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhibition (Psychology)
  • Male
  • Multilingualism
  • Names
  • Reaction Time
  • Verbal Behavior
  • Young Adult
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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