Experience in bilingual language control is often accompanied by changes in the structure and function of the brain. Brain structural changes are also often closely related to changes in functions. Previous studies, however, have not directly explored the relationship between structural connectivity and effective functional connectivity of the brain during bilingual language control, and whether the two types of connectivity are associated with behavioral performance of language control. Using behavioral performance, functional, and diffusion imaging techniques, we found that: (1) during language control, the left dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC), left caudate nucleus (CN), inferior parietal lobe, precuneus, and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC)/pre-SMA were significantly activated. (2) In the language control model with left dlPFC, dACC/pre-SMA, and left CN as ROIs (selected based on activation results and language control models from previous studies), stimuli first enter dACC/pre-SMA and then to left CN. At the left CN, a bidirectional effective connectivity is formed with left dlPFC. (3) There is a nonlinear relationship between effective connectivity during language control and the structural connectivity of the second language learners' brains. Specifically, the fiber density between dACC/pre-SMA and left dlPFC has a positive influence on the bidirectional effective connectivity between left dlPFC and left CN. Findings of the present study contribute evidence toward functional effective connectivity during bilingual language control; toward structural connectivity in the brains of second language learners; as well as toward nonlinear relationships between functional effective connectivity, structural connectivity, and behavioral performance in relation to bilingual language control.

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