Bilingualism: Language and Cognition



Peer commentary
Ton Dijkstra and Walter J. B. van Heuven. The architecture of the bilingual word recognition system: From identification to decision

Theories that develop


Michael S. C. Thomas a1a2
a1 School of Psychology, Birkbeck College, University of London, Malet St., London WC1E 7HX, UK. E-mail: m.thomas@psychology.bbk.ac.uk
a2 School of Psychology, Birkbeck College, University of London, Malet St., London WC1E 7HX, UK. E-mail: m.thomas@ich.ucl.ac.uk

Abstract

The target article represents a significant advance in the level of sophistication applied to models of bilingual word recognition, and Dijkstra and van Heuven are to be congratulated on this endeavour. Bearing in mind the success of the (computational) BIA model in capturing detailed patterns of experimental data, I look forward to future simulation results from the BIA+ when the proposals of this new framework are implemented. It is an essential step to draw a distinction between recognition systems and the decision mechanisms that drive responses, and the authors have provided a novel way of apportioning empirical evidence of context effects in bilingual word recognition across this divide. Given the explanatory weight now being placed on decision mechanisms rather than the word recognition system itself, perhaps indeed it is now time to make some simplifying assumptions about the recognition system and start building detailed computational models of the decision component of the system. Implementation will provide the clarity of theorisation and evaluation of theory viability that have been the hallmark of the BIA model thus far.



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