[PS-3.4] An adjustable-resource model of cognitive control in sentence production: insights from English and Spanish

Nozari, N. , Martin, C. & McCloskey, N.

Johns Hopkins University, Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language, Temple University

How are cognitive control resources applied to sentence production? We investigated this by examining the pattern of errors and corrections on the same words when they appeared earlier in the sentence (NP1) or later (NP2), as bilinguals described visual events such as 'The blue suitcase disappears behind the brown window' in blocks of English and Spanish. We found that, in both languages, error-rates increased significantly from NP1 to NP2, but interestingly, so did the correction proportions. While higher error rates on NP2 are compatible with a simple resource model which assumes that control is a fixed-capacity resource that is gradually depleted as interference builds up, the parallel increase in error correction is not. Additionally, within each of NP1 and NP2, the first element (adjective in English and Noun in Spanish) was associated with greater error rates and greater correction rates and was followed by significantly lower rates on the second element of the NP. Together, these results support an adjustable-resource model of cognitive control, where increased demand for resources, either due to insufficient pre-planning or built-up interference, leads to more errors but also recruits additional resources for correction and prevention of errors on the following word.