"To investigate the possibility that knowledge of two languages influences the nature of semantic representations, bilinguals and monolinguals were compared in a word association task. In Experiment 1, bilinguals produced less typical responses relative to monolinguals when given cues with a very common associate (e.g., given bride, bilinguals said “dress” instead of “groom”). In Experiment 2, bilinguals produced responses as typical as those of monolinguals when given cues with high-frequency associates, but not when given cues with low-frequency associates. Bilinguals’ responses were also affected, to a certain extent, by the cognate status of the stimulus word pairs: They were more similar to monolinguals’ responses when the cue and its strongest associate were both cognates (e.g., minute–second is minuto–segundo in Spanish), as opposed to both being noncognates. Experiment 3 confirmed the presence of a robust frequency effect on bilingual but not on monolingual association responses. These findings imply a lexical locus for the bilingual effect on association responses and reveal the association task to be not quite as purely semantic as was previously assumed."
Bilinguals produced more norm-divergent semantic associations.