Session: 8

PS8-07 | Emotional word recognition on a non-native language: Preliminary results using signal detection theory

Leticia Sarli

Laboratorio Interdisiciplinario de Neurociencia Cognitiva, CEMSC3, ICIFI, UNSAM

Word processing differences between people’s first (L1) and second (L2) language are a developing field in cognitive neuroscience research. Previous research shows that item recognition and recall is modulated by the emotional content of the stimuli, since emotional stimuli are remembered better and recognized faster than neutral words. The aim of this study was to assess emotional word recognition on L1 vs L2, and to investigate the effect of a visual feedback (VF) on recognition sensitivity. Fifty-eight bilingual volunteers performed a lexical decision task in which they had to decide whether a given string was a word (positive, neutral, or negative) or not, either on L1 or L2. Participants were split into four groups: L1/VF ((n = 14) and L2/VF (n = 15) performed the task with VF, while L1/NVF (n = 15) and L2/NVF (n = 14) performed the task without VF. Results indicated that participants showed higher sensitivity (d’) scores for L1 than L2, benefiting from the VF. Likewise, L1 groups had shorter response times. Overall, positive words were recognized faster than neutral and negative words. However, bias index (C) analyses showed higher tendency to answer “word” for positive words in L2 but not in L1; these groups showed higher tendency to answer “word” only for negative stimuli. Therefore, even though word recognition is more efficient in L1, bilingual people show different strategies for processing stimuli in L1 and L2.