PhD in Psychology, UMD
My research examines the relationship between executive function (the ability to regulate mental behavior and resolve among competing representations) and language processing. I am particularly interested in how individual differences in domain-general executive function influence controlled language processing abilities, including lexical access of low frequency items, the processing and comprehension of complex syntax, and integration of multiple information sources during language acquisition. The relationship between executive function and language processing is by no means unidirectional, so my research also explores the advantages in executive function conferred by bilingualism. Balanced bilinguals, who have had equivalent exposure to two languages since early childhood, outperform monolinguals on executive function tasks, presumably because frequent switching between two languages requires executive function abilities to inhibit lexical items from the incorrect language and to monitor speech for output errors. In my research, I investigate the nature and the source of the bilingual advantage.
Monica Sanz-Torrent and Lloren Barrachina