What is it about?

The present study explores how different linguistic experiences might modulate the balance between automaticity and cognitive control at the general cognitive level. It is suggested that when asked to search in memory for learned items, monolinguals showed higher levels of automaticity in performance after extensive practice; on the contrary, bilinguals and professional translators seemed to exert control over the memory search despite practice. This pattern might have caused higher cognitive costs for monolinguals when they were asked to switch to a new learning condition and higher flexibility to adapt to the new task requirements in the case of bilinguals and translators.

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Why is it important?

This study is important because it allows to target relevant mechanisms at the general cognitive level that might be influenced by different language experiences. The understanding of how different uses of one or more languages impact cognition is fundamental to know more about how our brain responds to specific communication needs; moreover, the results of this study might contribute significantly to the improvement of first and second language pedagogy and training programs in professional translation and interpreting.


Writing an article is always linked to the memories that were built while in the process. This paper represents many (many) hours in the lab that gave me the opportunity to enjoy the precious company of my co-authors and all my colleagues. For this reason, it celebrates my most sincere feelings of esteem, admiration and collegiality towards them. I hope that you will enjoy the reading as much as we enjoyed the process.

Dr. Giulia Togato
California State University Long Beach

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Automaticity and cognitive control in bilingual and translation expertise., Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology/Revue canadienne de psychologie expérimentale, March 2022, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/cep0000268.
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