Cognitive control in bilinguals: Effects of language experience and individual variability

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Abstract

We report a study that investigated executive functions in four groups of participants that varied in bilingual language experience, using a task that measured two theoretically motivated mechanisms of cognitive control (proactive and reactive control). Analyses of accuracy based on aggregated measures suggested an advantage in early highly proficient bilinguals over late passive bilinguals.However, when we factored in individual variability using mixed-model regression with a full random effect structure, we only found a marginal effect of language experience. Our results emphasise the importance of including individual variability when studying bilingualism, and highlight a fundamental consideration in research on the relation between language and attention –namely, the need for a theory-driven approach to measuring cognitive control through laboratory tasks.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBilingualism: Language and Cognition
Early online date18 Feb 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Feb 2019

Keywords

  • bilingual experience
  • individual variability
  • cognitive control
  • AX-CPT
  • mixed-model regression

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