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Many studies have examined the cognitive and neural mechanisms of bilingual language control, but few of them have captured the pattern information of brain activation. However, language control is a functional combination of both cognitive control and language production which demonstrates distinct patterns of neural representations under different language contexts. The first aim of the present study was to explore the brain activation patterns of language control using multivoxel pattern analysis (MVPA). During the experiment, Chinese-English bilinguals were instructed to name pictures in either Chinese or English according to a visually presented cue while being scanned with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We found that patterns of neural activity in frontal brain regions including the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, left inferior frontal gyrus, left supplementary motor area, anterior cingulate cortex, bilateral precentral gyri, and the left cerebellum reliably discriminated between switch and non-switch conditions. We then modeled causal interactions between these regions by applying effective connectivity analyses based on an extended unified structure equation model (euSEM). The results showed that frontal and fronto-cerebellar connectivity were key components of the language control network. These findings further reveal the engagement of the cognitive control network in bilingual language production.

Original publication




Journal article


Brain Struct Funct

Publication Date





963 - 977


Bilingualism, Effective connectivity, Language control, MVPA, fMRI, Brain, Brain Mapping, Humans, Multilingualism