The bilingual advantage debate: Publication biases and the decline effect

Angela De bruin, Sergio Della Sala

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter discusses publication bias as a variable that influences the bilingual advantage debate. Both quantitative and qualitative reviews are often based on published data only. It discusses evidence suggesting that a publication bias is at play in the literature on bilingualism and executive control. This bias as such does not inform us about the existence or size of a bilingual effect but being aware of biases does improve the interpretation of the literature. The chapter evaluates whether this bias has changed over time. The positive effects of bilingualism appear to have diminished over time. The chapter discusses how publication biases may relate to this decline effect in the field of bilingualism and executive control. Neither publication biases nor decline effects mean that an effect of bilingualism does not exist. However, biases do affect our understanding of potential effects of bilingualism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of the Neuroscience of Multilingualism
EditorsJ.W. Schwieter
ISBN (Electronic)9781119387756, 9781119387725
ISBN (Print)9781119387695, 9781119387701
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2019


  • bilingual advantage debate
  • bilingualism
  • decline effect
  • executive control
  • literature interpretation
  • publication bias


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