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

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    Rights statement: This article has been published in a revised form in Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, https://doi.org/10.1017/S1366728918001086 This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. ©Bonfieni etal.

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Original languageEnglish
JournalBilingualism: Language and Cognition
Early online date18 Feb 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Feb 2019


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.

    Research areas

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

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