Bilinguals show a robust adaptive behaviour when it comes to the selection of a language in real-world interactional context (Green & Abutalebi, 2013). Studies suggest that proficient bilinguals exploit linguistic and non-linguistic visual cues to select one language between two in a context-dependent manner (Hartsuiker, 2015). My thesis examines the role of Interlocutor Identity in determining the language choice in high proficient bilinguals using eye-tracking. The results suggest that the linguistic background of an interlocutor serves as one of the most salient cues in guiding language selection in bilinguals. Moreover, this effect is robust to an extent that even in the absence of the addressee the participants tend to look to the blank space where the interlocutor was previously present. The effect is verified by ”Blank Screen Paradigm” (Altmann, 2004). The result is consistent with the previous finding and support for the role of the external visual environment in addition to internal linguistic brain representations in modulating language selection (Spivey et al., 2004). Selective Attention plays a vital role in subserving this purpose. In order to understand the role of internal and external representations in language selection during conversation I will present my thesis and briefly discuss a paper by Olguin et al. The paper reveals the relationship between bilingualism and neural mechanisms of selective attention.
Role of internal and external representations in bilingual language selection