Staff Member Projects

The Stroop-like Effect in the Bilingual Minds

Guest Researcher: Lido Geng

Whether the phonology in the first language interferes with the word recognition in the second language in the bilingual minds is a subject of lively debate. We will examine this issue in phonological judgment tasks, specifically, by assessing effects of phonological interface on the recognition of Chinese disyllabic word pairs by English (L1) – Chinese (L2) bilingual speakers. The spoken forms of the Chinese disyllabic word pairs are similar in L1 (e.g., ant-aunt), but their corresponding L2 spoken forms are very different (e.g., 蚂蚁[mǎ yǐ]-姑姑[gū gū]).

Our hypothesis is that if the bilingual speakers indeed translate the second language automatically and unconsciously to their L1, there would be a phonological interference effect during L2 word recognition. We expect that the English (L1) – Chinese (L2) bilinguals find it difficult to judge these Chinese word pairs. In other words, there is some stroop-like effect in the bilingual minds when the bilinguals perform second language tasks.