Yan Jing Wu

Yan Jing Wu
Ningbo University

Doctor of Philosophy

About

31
Publications
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Introduction
Psychologist, neuroscientist, linguist, interested in the neural mechanisms that underline interactions between language and cognition, such as language control in bilinguals, linguistic relativity, bilingual embodiment, cognitive benefits of bilingualism.

Publications

Publications (31)
Article
Full-text available
Whether the native language of bilingual individuals is active during second-language comprehension is the subject of lively debate. Studies of bilingualism have often used a mix of first- and second-language words, thereby creating an artificial “dual-language” context. Here, using event-related brain potentials, we demonstrate implicit access to...
Article
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Bilingual individuals have been shown to access their native language while reading in or listening to their other language. However, it is unknown what type of mental representation (e.g., sound or spelling) they retrieve. Here, using event-related brain potentials, we demonstrate unconscious access to the sound form of Chinese words when advanced...
Article
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Mastering two languages has been associated with enhancement in human executive control, but previous studies of this phenomenon have exclusively relied on comparisons between bilingual and monolingual individuals. In the present study, we tested a single group of Welsh-English bilinguals engaged in a nonverbal conflict resolution task and manipula...
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Empathy for others' pain plays a critical role in human social interactions, but the influence of language contexts remains unclear. We examined the foreign-language effect on the behavioral and the underlying neural processes of empathy for others' pain. Chinese-English bilinguals performed a pain empathy task separately in Chinese (native languag...
Article
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Human neonates can discriminate phonemes, but the neural mechanism underlying this ability is poorly understood. Here we show that the neonatal brain can learn to discriminate natural vowels from backward vowels, a contrast unlikely to have been learnt in the womb. Using functional near-infrared spectroscopy, we examined the neuroplastic changes ca...
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Background Neuroimaging studies on major depressive disorder (MDD) have identified an extensive range of brain structural abnormalities, but the exact neural mechanisms associated with MDD remain elusive. Most previous studies were performed with voxel- or surface-based morphometry which were univariate methods without considering spatial informati...
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Research indicates that the foreign language effect on decision making can be partially explained by a reduction in emotional response in the second language. In this fMRI study, we aimed at elucidating the neural mechanisms underpinning the interaction between language and emotion in decision making. Across multiple trials, Chinese-English bilingu...
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Background The neural networks underpinning language control and domain-general executive functions overlap in bilinguals, but existing evidence is mainly correlative. Here, we present the first neurofunctional evidence for a transfer effect between (domain-general) inhibitory control and language control through training. We trained Chinese–Englis...
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Language switching involves multiple processing stages. Previous studies have not dissociated the cognitive process underlying language form switches and concept switches. Here, we examined the two factors using a novel language-switching paradigm. Chinese-English bilinguals named individually presented pictures in either Chinese or English accordi...
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Research has suggested that using two or more languages on a daily basis helps older adults maintain a heightened functional state and improves neurocomputational efficiency. In this review, we discuss studies that have examined the effect of life-long bilingualism on age-related cognitive and neural decline, with a focus on discrepancies between d...
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Previous research has shown that training on inhibitory control (IC) leads to functional neural plastic changes, although this effect on individuals with different levels of IC abilities has yet to be studied. Here, we examined the individual differences in IC abilities of 85 participants, who performed a Simon task while undergoing a functional ma...
Article
The ability to conceive time is a corner stone of human cognition. It is unknown, however, whether time conceptualisation differs depending on language of operation in bilinguals. Whilst both Chinese and English cultures associate the future with the front space, some temporal expressions of Chinese involve a configuration reversal due to historic...
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Processing affective prosody, that is the emotional tone of a speaker, is fundamental to human communication and adaptive behaviors. Previous studies have mainly focused on adults and infants; thus the neural mechanisms underlying the processing of affective prosody in newborns remain unclear. Here, we used near‐infrared spectroscopy to examine the...
Article
In their paper “Do Bilinguals Automatically Activate Their Native Language When They Are Not Using it?”, Costa, Pannunzi, Deco, and Pickering (Cognitive Science, 2017) proposed a reinterpretation of Thierry and Wu's (2004, 2007) finding of native language‐based (Chinese, L1) ERP effects when they tested Chinese–English late bilinguals exclusively i...
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Previous studies have demonstrated that language switching in bilinguals can be affected by a number of variables, including the processing context. Here, we used a modified language-switching task combined with a Stroop paradigm, which manipulated the context of the task, to examine the impact of processing context on switch costs. The results of...
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The present functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study investigated influences of language contexts on inhibitory control and the underlying neural processes. Thirty Cantonese–Mandarin–English trilingual speakers, who were highly proficient in Cantonese (L1) and Mandarin (L2), and moderately proficient in English (L3), performed a picture-n...
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The putamen is a subcortical structure that forms part of the dorsal striatum of basal ganglia, and has traditionally been associated with reinforcement learning and motor control, including speech articulation. However, recent studies have shown involvement of the left putamen in other language functions such as bilingual language processing (Abut...
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Studies of language production in bilinguals have seldom considered the fact that language selection likely involves proactive control. Here, we show that Chinese-English bilinguals actively inhibit the language not-to-be used before the onset of a picture to be named. Depending on the nature of a directive cue, participants named a subsequent pict...
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Whether using two languages enhances executive functions is a matter of debate. Here, we take a novel perspective to examine the bilingual advantage hypothesis by comparing bi-dialect with mono-dialect speakers' performance on a non-linguistic task that requires executive control. Two groups of native Chinese speakers, one speaking only the standar...
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The present study examined how a short period of language switching training affects nonverbal cognitive control, as measured by the AX version of the Continuous Performance Test. A group of Chinese-English bilinguals were trained over 10 days on a picture naming task that required switching between languages. We recorded their behavioral performan...
Article
Language non-selective lexical access in bilinguals has been established mainly using tasks requiring explicit language processing. Here, we show that bilinguals activate native language translations even when words presented in their second language are incidentally processed in a nonverbal, visual search task. Chinese-English bilinguals searched...
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Reading words in a second language spontaneously activates native language translations in the human bilingual mind. Here, we show that the emotional valence of a word presented in English constrains unconscious access to its Chinese translation. We asked native speakers of Chinese fluent with English to indicate whether or not pairs of English wor...
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Bilingual speakers generally manifest slower word recognition than monolinguals. We investigated the consequences of the word processing speed on semantic access in bilinguals. The paradigm involved a stream of English words and pseudowords presented in succession at a constant rate. English-Welsh bilinguals and English monolinguals were asked to c...
Article
It is generally accepted that word processing in bilinguals is language nonselective. However, this has mostly been shown in contexts involving deliberate processing focusing on a particular aspect of linguistic information (e.g., lexicality, semantic category, relatedness). It is therefore unknown to what extent non-target language access is only...
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The attentional effects triggered by emotional stimuli in humans have been substantially investigated, but little is known about the impact of affective valence on the processing of meaning. Here, we used a cross-modal priming paradigm involving visually presented adjective-noun dyads and environmental sounds of controlled affective valence to test...
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It has been debated how bilinguals select the intended language and prevent interference from the unintended language when speaking. Here, we studied the nature of the mental representations accessed by late fluent bilinguals during a rhyming judgment task relying on covert speech production. We recorded event-related brain potentials in Chinese-En...
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How do the two languages of bilingual individuals interact in everyday communication? Numerous behavioral- and event-related brain potential studies have suggested that information from the non-target language is spontaneously accessed when bilinguals read, listen, or speak in a given language. While this finding is consistent with predictions of c...
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The mechanism by which late bilinguals access the meaning of words presented in their second language (conceptual mediation or word association) is highly debated. Here we asked late Chinese-English bilinguals undergoing event-related potential (ERP) recordings to indicate whether pairs of English words were related or unrelated in meaning. Partici...

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