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Bilingual advantage and language switch: What's the linkage?*

  • MICHELE SCALTRITTI (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4), FRANCESCA PERESSOTTI (a1) (a2) and MICHELE MIOZZO (a5)


Whether bilingualism affects executive functions is a topic of intense debate. While some studies have provided evidence of enhanced executive functions in bilinguals compared to monolinguals, other studies have failed to find advantages. In the present study, we investigated whether high opportunity of language switching could contribute to bilingual advantage. Advantages have been consistently found with Catalan–Spanish bilinguals who experience frequent opportunities of language switching. Fewer opportunities are experienced by speakers of Italian and one of the Italian dialects, the participants of our study. We anticipated reduced or no advantages with these participants. In Experiment 1, subjective estimates of familiarity with dialect failed to show a relationship with performances in different tasks involving executive control. In Experiment 2, we compared Italian–Venetian dialect bilinguals to Italian monolinguals in the flanker task, and no advantages were found either. Contrasting with results from Catalan–Spanish bilinguals, our results suggest that language switching plays a role in bilingual advantages.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Michele Miozzo, The New School, 80 Fifth Avenue, 7th floor, New York, NY-10011


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We want to thank Gaia Rocchi, Ilaria Censi, and Vittoria Zanardi for their help with data collection, and Laura Vanelli, Raffealla Zanuttini, and Claudio Zmarich for the information about Italian dialects they shared with us. We are also grateful to George Vickers for his suggestions.



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Bilingual advantage and language switch: What's the linkage?*

  • MICHELE SCALTRITTI (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4), FRANCESCA PERESSOTTI (a1) (a2) and MICHELE MIOZZO (a5)


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