Esti Blanco-Elorrieta


New York University

eb134 [at] nyu [dot] edu

Multilingualism - Language Production - Executive Control - Lexical Access



A little bit about me:

I am a third year graduate student at the
Neuroscience of Language lab at New York University. My work primarily focuses on two aspects of language cognition. On the one hand, I am committed to unveiling the neural architecture of the multilingual brain. Specifically, I work under Liina Pylkkänen's supervision to disclose the neural bases of multilingual individuals’ ability to switch back and forth between the two linguistic systems they master.

Taking the most naturalistic approach possible, I conduct MEG studies looking into i) bilingual lexical access ii) the commonalities between switching languages in production and comprehension and iii) the neural overlap between language control and general cognitive control. Lately, I have additionally become interested in the neural substrates of adaptive language control mechanisms and the impoverished perception of bilingual speech in noise.

The other part of my work focuses on understanding the neural bases of simple combinatorial semantics. In this regard, I investigate the underpinnings of the compositional rules that dictate the construction of complex mental representations from very simple pieces.

Publications

Blanco-Elorrieta, E., Emmorey, K., & Pylkkänen, L. (in prep.). Decomposing task switching: MEG evidence from bimodal language switching.

Blanco-Elorrieta, E., Kastner, I., Emmorey, K., & Pylkkänen, L. (under review). A shared neurobiology for building phrases in signed and spoken language.

Blanco-Elorrieta, E., Ferreira, S.V., Del Prato, P., & Pylkkänen, L. (2017). The priming of Basic Combinatory Responses in MEG. Cognition 70, 49-63. doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2017.09.010

Blanco-Elorrieta, E., & Pylkkänen, L. (2017). Bilingual language switching in the lab vs. in the wild: The spatio-temporal dynamics of adaptive language control. The Journal of Neuroscience doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0553-17.2017 [pdf]

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. & Pylkkänen, L. (2016). Bilingual language control in perception vs. action:
MEG reveals comprehension control mechanisms in anterior cingulate cortex and domain-general production control in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. The Journal of Neuroscience 36(2): 290-301 doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2597-15.2016

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. & Pylkkänen, L. (2015). Composition of complex numbers: Delineating the computational role of the left anterior temporal lobe. NeuroImage 124(Pt A):194-203 doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.08.049

Blanco Elorrieta, E. & Pylkkänen, L. (2015). Brain bases of language selection: MEG evidence from Arabic-English bilingual language production. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2015.00027 [pdf]

Pylkkänen, L., Bemis, D.K., & Blanco-Elorrieta, E. (2014). Building phrases in language production: An MEG study of simple composition. Cognition , 133, 371-384. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2014.07.001 [pdf]


Talks

2017

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. Emmorey, K., & Pylkkänen, L. (2017). Turning a language “off” is cognitively effortful, but turning a language “on” is not: MEG evidence from bimodal language switching. Talk presented at the Society for the Neurobiology of Language Annual Conference 2017, Baltimore, USA.

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. (2017). Bilingual language switching in the lab vs. in the wild: The spatio-temporal dynamics of adaptive language control. Talk presented at the Summer school on Bilingualism and Multilingualism. Barcelona, Spain.

2016

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. & Pylkkänen, L. (2016). While language-switching in the lab localizes in anterior cingulate cortex, comprehending code-switches in the wild engages the auditory cortex: MEG evidence from Arabic-English bilinguals. Talk presented at the 2016 Amlap Conference in Bilbao, Spain.

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. (2016). Brain bases of bilingual language selection and switching: Evidence from production and comprehension.
Invited talk at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), New York, USA.

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. , Ferreira, V., Del Prato, P. & Pylkkänen, L. (2016). The Priming of Basic Combinatory Responses in MEG.
Talk presented at CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, Gainesville, Florida, USA.

2015

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. & Pylkkänen, L. (2015). Switch mechanisms revealed by MEG: What is special about language switching?
Talk presented at the Neuroscience of Language Workshop 2015, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. & Pylkkänen, L. (2015). Bilingual language control: domain general in production but not comprehension? Evidence from MEG. Talk presented at the 5th Linguistics in the Gulf Conference 2015, Doha, Qatar.

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. & Pylkkänen, L. (2015). Brain bases of language selection: MEG evidence from Arabic-English bilingual language production.
Talk presented at the NYUAD Annual Research Conference 2015, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.

Poster presentations

2016

Blanco-Elorrieta, E., Ferreira, V.S., Del Prato, P., & Pylkkänen, L. (2016). The priming of basic combinatory responses in MEG.
Society for the Neurobiology of Language Annual Conference 2016, London, UK.

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. & Pylkkänen, L. (2016). While language-switching in the lab localizes in anterior cingulate cortex, comprehending code-switches in the wild engages the auditory cortex: MEG evidence from Arabic-English bilinguals.
Society for the Neurobiology of Language Annual Conference 2016, London, UK

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. , Ferreira, V., Del Prato, P. & Pylkkänen, L. (2016). The Priming of Basic Combinatory Responses in MEG.
Cognitive Neuroscience Society Annual Meeting, NY, USA.

Blanco-Elorrieta, E., & Pylkkänen, L. (2016). Bilingual language control in perception vs. action: MEG reveals comprehension control mechanisms in anterior cingulate cortex and domain-general control of production in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, Gainesville, Florida, USA.

2015

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. & Pylkkänen, L. (2015). Switching in perception vs. action revealed by MEG: Reactive control in the ACC and proactive control in the dorsolateral PFC. Society for the Neurobiology of Language Annual Conference 2015, Chicago, USA. [pdf]

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. & Pylkkänen, L. (2015). Composition of Complex Numbers: Delineating the computational role of the left anterior temporal lobe. Society for the Neurobiology of Language Annual Conference 2015, Chicago, USA. [pdf]

Oseki Y., Gwilliams, L., Gaston, P., Blanco-Elorrieta, E., Pykkänen, L. & Marantz, A. (2015). Neural dynamics of morphological and phrasal composition. Society for the Neurobiology of Language Annual Conference 2015, Chicago, USA.

2014

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. & Pylkkänen, L. (2014). Brain bases of language selection: MEG evidence from Arabic-English bilingual language production.
Society for the Neurobiology of Language Annual Conference, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

2013

Martin, C.D., Blanco-Elorrieta, E., & Duñabeitia, J.A. (2013). An alternative explanation to asymmetrical switch-costs in unbalanced bilinguals.
Annual Psychonomics Conference, Toronto, Canada.

If you would like to know more about me, you can download my CV here.

External funding and awards

2017: Society of the Neurobiology of Language predoctoral fellow merit award.
2017: Woodcock Institute Grant Research Award ($9,951).
2016: Helmsley Fellowship for cross-disciplinary research ($2,350).
2016: New York University, Dean's Student Travel Grant.
2015: Neurobiology of Language Conference: Travel Award.
2015: New York University: MacCracken Fellowship for Doctoral studies.
2014: La Caixa Foundation: fellowship for Graduate Studies in North America ( ~$75,000 per year, dependent on tuition fees).
2012: Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language (waiver of M.Sc. tuition fees).
2011: Basque Government: grant for undergraduate research projects (€3,300).
2010: University of Deusto: grant for undergraduate research projects (€3,000).
2008: Basque Government: Distinguished Academic scholarship (waiver of first year University matriculation fees).

Media

Coverage of the Journal of Neuroscience article on language switching in different conversational scenarios

The press release from NYU can be found here

On Exception magazine: Chatting makes it easy to switch languages
On Science Daily: Is changing languages effortful for bilingual speakers? Depends on the situation
On Lukor magazine: Chatting makes it easier to switch between languages
On Science Codex: Is changing languages effortful for bilingual speakers?
On Health News Digest: Is Changing Languages Effortful for Bilingual Speakers?
On Gears of Biz: Is changing languages effortful for bilingual speakers? Depends on the situation
On Futurity news: Chatting makes it easy to switch languages

Coverage of my paper in the Journal of Neuroscience on language switching in perception vs. action.

The press release from NYUAD can be found here.

An article in the The Gulf Today: Bilingual brains more focused, reveals NYU Abu Dhabi research
An article in Khaleej times: Bilinguals are smarter than you think
An article in The National: Abu Dhabi study sheds new light on benefits of children being bilingual
An article in ZAWYA: NYU Abu Dhabi researchers reveal workings of the bilingual brain
An article in United Arab Emirates News Agency: NYU Abu Dhabi researchers reveal workings of the bilingual brain
An article in MSN News: NYU Abu Dhabi study shows becoming bilingual depends on the brain