Abstract

Models vary in the extent to which language control processes are domain general. Those that posit that language control is at least partially domain general insist on an overlap between language control and executive control at the goal level. To further probe whether or not language control is domain general, we conducted the first event-related potential (ERP) study that directly compares language-switch costs, as an index of language control, and task-switch costs, as an index of executive control. The language switching and task switching methodologies were identical, except that the former required switching between languages (English or Spanish) whereas the latter required switching between tasks (color naming or category naming). This design allowed us to directly compare control processes at the goal level (cue-locked ERPs) and at the task performance level (picture-locked ERPs). We found no significant differences in the switch-related cue-locked and picture-locked ERP patterns across the language and task switching paradigms. These results support models of domain-general language control.

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Author notes

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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