Adults with a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) often show deficits in executive functioning, which include the ability to inhibit, switch, and attend to task relevant information. These abilities are also essential for language processing in bilinguals, who constantly inhibit and switch between languages. Currently, there is no data regarding the effect of TBI on executive function and language processing in bilinguals. This study used behavioral and eye-tracking measures to examine the effect of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) on executive function and language processing in Spanish-English bilinguals. In Experiment 1, thirty-nine healthy bilinguals completed a variety of executive function and language processing tasks. The primary executive function and language processing tasks were paired with a cognitive load task intended to simulate mTBI. In Experiment 2, twenty-two bilinguals with a history of mTBI and twenty healthy control bilinguals completed the same executive function measures and language processing tasks. The results revealed that bilinguals with a history of mTBI show deficits in specific executive functions and have higher rates of language processing deficits than healthy control bilinguals. Additionally, behavioral and eye-tracking data suggest that these language processing deficits are related to underlying executive function abilities. This study also identified a subset of bilinguals who may be at the greater risk of language processing deficits following mTBI. The findings of this study have a direct impact on the identification of executive function deficits and language processing deficits in bilinguals with a history mTBI.
- Executive function and language control in bilinguals with a history of mild traumatic brain injury
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by Ileana Ratiu