Executive function and bilingualism: what are the effects of language proficiency?

Date

2010-12-22T17:02:53Z

Authors

Hutchison, Sarah Michelle

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Abstract

An emerging topic in cognitive development is whether being bilingual constitutes an advantage in children’s performance on executive function (EF) tasks. The purpose of this study was to compare the performance of EF tasks in English monolingual children and German-English bilingual children aged 3 to 6 years old. Fifty-six children completed tasks of short-term memory, working memory, inhibition, cognitive flexibility, and verbal ability. No significant difference was found between the performance of bilingual and monolingual children in EF tasks, even when level of language proficiency was taken into account. Monolingual children performed better on measures of English verbal ability than bilingual children. Limitation to the study and avenues for future research are presented.

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Keywords

Executive function, Bilingualism, Bilingualism in children

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