In fact, reaction time often fails to detect differences between monolinguals’ and bilinguals’ responses to competition, even when other behavioral measures (such as eye-tracking or mouse-tracking) indicate group differences (e.g., Bartolotti and Marian, 2012 and Blumenfeld and Marian, 2011). Instead, more sensitive measures, such as eye-tracking or functional neuroimaging are needed to highlight meaningful differences in how monolinguals and bilinguals manage phonological competition. Here, we demonstrate that, even in the absence of behavioral differences between groups, monolinguals
and bilinguals differ in the cortical resources recruited to manage phonological competition. In contrast to the increased recruitment HIF inhibitor of language and executive
control regions observed by Righi et al. (2010) in competitor trials, participants in our current study showed limited activation in response to direct manipulations of competition. This is likely due to differences between the populations tested in the two studies. Although Righi et al.’s sample was not explicitly controlled for language experience, all participants were native English speakers. In contrast, our current study includes both native English speakers (monolinguals) and native Spanish speakers (bilinguals). When we consider only monolingual subjects, the group likely most analogous find more to the participants used by Righi et al., competitor effects emerge in executive control regions such as the anterior cingulate (Milham
et al., 2001) and superior frontal gyrus (du Boisgueheneuc et al., 2006), though activation in linguistic areas remained unaffected by competition. The most striking finding from the current study is that bilinguals displayed substantially less cortical activation compared to monolinguals throughout the duration of the task. A main effect of group illustrated that monolinguals (but not bilinguals) recruited a network of executive control areas (e.g., left superior frontal gyrus: du Boisgueheneuc et al., 2006; anterior cingulate: Milham et Abiraterone purchase al., 2001; left inferior frontal gyrus: e.g., Swick, Ashley, & Turken, 2008; left middle frontal gyrus: e.g., Milham et al., 2002) and primary visual cortex while completing the task. This broad activation in monolinguals is also supported by a significant group by condition interaction and planned comparisons showing that, specifically in response to competition, monolinguals recruited anterior cingulate and left superior frontal gyrus. Such extensive reliance on executive control regions, particularly when confronted with linguistic competition, suggests that monolinguals’ management of phonological competition is not automatic, but rather requires the allocation of domain-general cognitive resources.