Learning Third Language Brings Changes in Executive Function: An ERP Study
Received: Oct 31, 2017 ; Revised: Dec 17, 2017 ; Accepted: Dec 25, 2017
Published Online: Dec 31, 2017
A number of studies have found that bilinguals differ from monolinguals not only in verbal aspects but also in nonverbal cognitive functions. This study aims to investigate whether learning a third language also affects our executive functions. To demonstrate a direct effect of learning a third language (German) in executive function, 32 English-Korean bilinguals participated in the ERP experiments twice: before and after language training. Based on the Dual Mechanism Control (DMC) model, we used an AX-CPT paradigm to analyze the proactive control processing with P3b and reactive control processing with N2 and P3a components. The results showed an increase in P3a amplitudes after learning the third language which implies enhanced response inhibitory function. Thus, our results suggest not only the second language but also the third language acquisition influences reactive control functions.