The past two weeks I was able to attend two more seminars. Both were given by partners of the Psychology department here in Tarragona; there were two Galician women, a Portuguese woman and several individuals from Madrid. I caught the second half of one of the Galician woman's presentations who was researching the effects of emotion showing smiley/non-smiley faces to participants and asking them to write down the emotion each portrayed. The other was researching how English people versus Spanish people read a sentence. She showed us an example: El marido disparó al criado de la mujer que estaba en el balcón (the husband shot the servant of the woman that was on the balcony). She would then ask questions like who was shot, the woman, or the servant. Spanish speaking individuals would usually answer with the first person mentioned (so the servant) and English speaking people would usually answer the second (the woman). I would have thought it was the servant who was shot -I guess that's what language immersion does to you! One of the Psychologists from Madrid was researching Conventionality and cognates in metaphors and literal statements and the way metaphors are processed in Spanish-English bilinguals. This presentation was especially interesting to me because it had to do with code-switching! He used the Boston Naming task to test language proficiency -just like me! For the experiment he would present participants with metaphors and literal statements in both English and Spanish and ask them to determine whether it was a metaphor or literal statement. He observed that there was a switch between the boundary between the subject and the predicate and that the reading time was more costly when read from the L1-L2 (greater when you have to inhibit your L1). After he was finished he asked me about my code-switching research and asked a very interesting question that I had never thought of before: would the results be different if the sentences I presented to my participants were in Spanish with a CS to English versus my English sentences I use with a CS to Spanish. I would think not, but it made me curious to find out!
The past very days I have been running my last few participants, packing up my equipment and making sure I have all my files backed up. I finished with a total of 46 participants. I have started coding my cognitive tasks but have decided with Janet van Hell to wait to code my Code-Switching data until I get back to Penn State. I'm sad to have to leave Spain, but excited to come back to Penn State, code my data and present my results!