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Facilitatory and inhibitory mechanisms in second language reading fluency

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Facilitatory and inhibitory mechanisms in second language reading fluency

Watson, Vivien C (2002) Facilitatory and inhibitory mechanisms in second language reading fluency. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This research focused on whether the efficiency with which bilinguals inhibit representations of irrelevant or facilitate representations of relevant information is a factor contributing to second language fluency. Participants were tested in their first (L1) (English) and second languages (L2) (French). The tasks implemented were negative and positive priming size selection tasks where participants viewed two stimulus words that named units of time (e.g., minute, day) and were asked to press a button corresponding to the position of the stimulus word expressing the longer unit of time. In Experiment l, participants were tested in separate blocks on positive and negative priming trial-pairs. On a negative priming trial-pair, participants had to respond to a target on a probe trial that appeared as a distractor on the prime trial immediately preceding. On a positive priming trial-pair, participants had to respond to a target on a probe trial that had been presented as a target on the preceding prime trial. It was found that in L1 but not L2 participants were significantly slower to respond on negative priming trials than on neutral trials, indicating evidence of inhibition in L1 but not in L2. It was also found that in both L1 and L2, bilinguals exhibited significant positive priming, indicating efficient facilitation of relevant information in both languages. The second and third experiments investigated the time course of negative and positive priming respectively in relation to L1 and L2 reading. Participants were tested at four different RSIs (response-to-stimulus intervals). In L1, negative priming was found to persist even at the longest RSI whereas in L2 it was found to have dissipated by that time, indicating that bilinguals were able maintain inhibition of irrelevant information for longer periods of time in L1 than in L2. Overall, the research implicates both inhibitory and facilitatory processes in L2 reading fluency.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Watson, Vivien C
Pagination:xi, 126 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (Ph.D.)
Program:Psychology
Date:2002
Thesis Supervisor(s):Segalowitz, Norman
ID Code:1838
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:22
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:23
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