Pupillary responses to affective words in bilinguals’ first versus second language

Toivo, W. and Scheepers, C. (2019) Pupillary responses to affective words in bilinguals’ first versus second language. PLoS ONE, 14(4), e0210450. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0210450) (PMID:31013266) (PMCID:PMC6478288)

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Late bilinguals often report less emotional involvement in their second language, a phenomenon called reduced emotional resonance in L2. The present study measured pupil dilation in response to high- versus low-arousing words (e.g., riot vs. swamp) in German-English and Finnish-English late bilinguals, both in their first and in their second language. A third sample of English monolingual speakers (tested only in English) served as a control group. To improve on previous research, we controlled for lexical confounds such as length, frequency, emotional valence, and abstractness–both within and across languages. Results showed no appreciable differences in post-trial word recognition judgements (98% recognition on average), but reliably stronger pupillary effects of the arousal manipulation when stimuli were presented in participants’ first rather than second language. This supports the notion of reduced emotional resonance in L2. Our findings are unlikely to be due to differences in stimulus-specific control variables or to potential word-recognition difficulties in participants’ second language. Linguistic relatedness between first and second language (German-English vs. Finnish-English) was also not found to have a modulating influence.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Scheepers, Dr Christoph and Toivo, Dr Wilhelmiina
Creator Roles:
Toivo, W.Conceptualization, Data curation, Formal analysis, Investigation, Methodology, Writing – original draft
Scheepers, C.Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Resources, Supervision, Visualization, Writing – original draft
Authors: Toivo, W., and Scheepers, C.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
Journal Name:PLoS ONE
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN (Online):1932-6203
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Toivo, Scheepers
First Published:First published in PLoS ONE 14(4): e0210450
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
591541ESRC Doctoral Training Centre 2011...Mary Beth KneafseyEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/J500136/1VPO VICE PRINCIPAL RESEARCH & ENTERPRISE