The Role of Cognitive Control in Language Comprehension

Rebecca H. Shields


Successful language comprehension involves complex higher-order processing that must function fluidly in real time. While progress has been made in understanding the foundations of language processing, the mechanisms underlying the dynamic higher-order aspects of comprehension remain somewhat of a mystery. This review proposes that these higher-order aspects of language comprehension depend on cognitive control mechanisms. Specifically, the two components of cognitive control, conflict monitoring and intentional control, contribute distinctly to language comprehension. Conflict monitoring is necessary for recognizing linguistic ambiguities and attending to errors in interpretation; control works to suppress irrelevant information and engage correct interpretations. By examining the effect of cognitive control on language processing in light of these two components, this review provides a perspective that can offer novel insights into interventions for linguistic difficulties.

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ISSN: 2325-0917