Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Bilingual advantage in executive control when task demands are considered*

  • LI QU (a1), JOEL JIA WEI LOW (a1), TING ZHANG (a2), HONG LI (a3) and PHILIP DAVID ZELAZO (a4)...

Abstract

To examine how task demands influence bilingual advantage in executive control over monolinguals, we tested 32 Chinese monolinguals and 32 Chinese–English bilinguals with four versions of a color-shape switching task. During switching trials, the task required participants to suppress one set of conflicting (or non-conflicting) responses and simultaneously to activate another set of conflicting (or non-conflicting) responses. The results showed that compared to monolinguals, (i) when suppressing conflicting responses or (ii) activating non-conflicting responses, bilinguals had significantly smaller switching costs though similar mixing costs; (iii) when suppressing one set of conflicting responses and simultaneously activating another set of conflicting responses, bilinguals had significantly smaller switching costs though larger mixing costs; and (iv) when suppressing one set of non-conflicting responses and simultaneously activating another set of non-conflicting responses, bilinguals had similar switching costs and mixing costs. These findings indicate that task demands affect bilingual advantage in executive control.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Li Qu, Division of Psychology, Nanyang Technological University, 14 Nanyang Drive, Singapore 637332 quli@ntu.edu.sg.

Footnotes

Hide All
*

We wish to acknowledge the funding support for this project from Nanyang Technological University under the Undergraduate Research Experience on Campus (URECA) programme. We would also like to thank Chong Pei Shan, Lim Wei Li Dawn, Cheng Cheng Jiang, and Qiao Dai for their involvement in data collection. We also thank the two anonymous reviewers for comments on a previous version of the manuscript.

Footnotes

References

Hide All
Abutalebi, J., Della Rosa, P. A., Ding, G., Weekes, B., Costa, A., & Green, D. W. (2013). Language proficiency modulates the engagement of cognitive control areas in multilinguals. Cortex, 49, 905911.
Abutalebi, J., & Green, D. (2007). Bilingual language production: The neurocognition of language representation and control. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 20, 242275.
Allport, D. A., Styles, E. A., & Hsieh, S. (1994). Shifting intentional set: Exploring the dynamic control of tasks. In Umilta, C. & Moscovitch, M. (eds.), Attention and performance XV, pp. 421452. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Anderson, J. R., Bothell, D., Byrne, M. D., Douglass, S., Lebiere, C., & Qin, Y. (2004). An integrated theory of the mind. Psychological Review, 111, 10361060.
Anderson, M. C., & Spellman, B. A. (1995). On the status of inhibitory mechanism in cognition: Memory retrieval as a model case. Psychological Review, 102, 68100.
Baddeley, A. D. (1986). Working memory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bialystok, E. (2006). Effect of bilingualism and computer video game experience on the Simon task. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 60, 6879.
Bialystok, E., Craik, F. I. M., Klein, R., & Viswanathan, M. (2004). Bilingualism, aging, and cognitive control: Evidence from the Simon Task. Psychology and Aging, 19, 290303.
Bialystok, E., Craik, F. I. M., & Luk, G. (2008). Cognitive control and lexical access in younger and older bilinguals. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 34, 859873.
Bialystok, E., Craik, F. I. M., & Luk, G. (2012). Bilingualism: Consequences for mind and brain. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16, 240250.
Bialystok, E., & Feng, X. (2009). Language proficiency and executive control in proactive interference: Evidence from monolingual and bilingual children and adults. Brain and Language, 109, 93100.
Bialystok, E., & Viswanathan, M. (2009). Components of executive control with advantages for bilingual children in two cultures. Cognition, 112, 494500.
Calmels, C., Foutren, M., & Stam, C. J. (2011). Influences of instructions and expertise on the mechanisms involved during a working memory task. Journal of Psychophysiology, 25, 105115.
Chang, F.-M., Kidd, J. R., Kivak, K. J., Pakstis, A. J., & Kidd, K. K. (1996). The world-wide distribution of allele frequencies at the human dopamine D4 receptor locus. Human Genetics, 98, 91101.
Chen, X., Hastings, P. D., Rubin, K. H., Chen, H., Cen, G., & Stewart, J. L. (1998). Child-rearing attitudes and behavioral inhibition in Chinese and Canadian toddlers: A cross-cultural study. Developmental Psychology, 34, 677686.
Chevalier, N., & Blaye, A. (2009). Setting goals to switch between tasks: Effect of cue transparency on children's cognitive flexiblity. Developmental Psychology, 45, 782797.
Coderre, E. L., Van Heuven, W. J. B., & Conklin, K. (2013). The timing and magnitude of Stroop interference and facilitation in monolinugals and bilinguals. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 16, 420441.
Costa, A., Hernández, M., Cost-Faidella, J., & Sebastián-Gallés, N. (2009). On the bilingual advantage in conflict processing: Now you see it, now you don’t. Cognition, 113, 135149.
Costa, A., Hernández, M., & Sebastián-Gallés, N. (2008). Bilingualism aids conflict resolution: Evidence from the ANT task. Cognition, 106, 5986.
Diamond, A. (2012). Activities and programs that improve children's executive function. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 21, 335341.
De Vos, G. A., & Slote, W. H. (eds.). (1998). Confucianism and the family. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
Dreisbach, G., Haider, H., & Kluwe, R. (2002). Preparatory processes in the task-switching paradigm: Evidence from the use of probability cues. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 28, 468483.
Dunn, L. M., & Dunn, L. M. (2006). Examiner's manual for the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test – Fourth Edition. Bloomington, MN: Pearson.
Friedman, N. P., Miyake, A., Young, S., DeFries, J. C., Corley, R. P., & Hewitt, J. K. (2008). Individual differences in executive functions are almost entirely genetic in origin. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 137, 201225.
Glaser, M. O., & Glaser, W. R. (1982). Time course analysis of the Stroop phenomenon. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 8, 875894.
Gollan, T. H., Montoya, R. I., Fennema-Notestine, C., & Morris, S. (2005). Bilingualism affects picture naming but not picture classification. Memory & Cognition, 33, 12201234.
Green, D. W. (1998). Mental control of the bilingual lexico-semantic system. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 1, 6781.
Hasher, L., Lustig, C., & Zacks, R. T. (2007). Inhibitory mechanisms and the control of attention. In Gorfein, D. S. & MacLeod, C. M. (eds.), The place of inhibition in cognition, pp. 145162. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Hilchey, M. D., & Klein, R. M. (2011). Are there bilingual advantages on nonlinguistic interference tasks? Implications for the plasticity of executive control processes. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 18, 625658.
Hubner, M., Kluwe, R., Luna-Rodriguez, A., & Peters, A. (2004). Task preparation and stimulus-evoked competition. Acta Psychologica, 115, 211234.
Kamwangamalu, N. M., & Lee, C.-L. (1991). Chinese–English code-mixing: A case of matrix language assignment. World Englishes, 10, 247261.
Kray, J., Li, K., & Lindenberger, U. (2002). Age differences in task switching components: The role of task uncertainty. Brain and Cognition, 49, 363381.
Logan, G. D., & Bundesen, C. (2003). Clever homunculus: Is there an endogenous act of control in the explicit task-cuing procedure? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 29, 575599.
Luk, G., Bialystok, E., Craik, F. I. M., & Grady, C. L. (2011). Lifelong bilingualism maintains white matter integrity in older adults. Journal of Neuroscience, 16, 1680816813.
Luk, G., Green, D. W., Abutalebi, J., & Grady, C. L. (2012). Cognitive control for language switching in bilinguals: A quantitative meta-analysis of functional neuroimaging studies. Language and Cognitive Processes, 27, 14791488.
Luo, L., Luk, G., & Bialystok, E. (2010). Effect of language proficiency and executive control on verbal fluency performance in bilinguals. Cognition, 114, 2941.
Marecová, A., Asanowicz, D., Krivá, L., & Wodniecka, Z. (2013). The effects of bilingualism on efficiency and lateralization of attentional networks. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 16, 608623.
Martin-Rhee, M. M., & Bialystok, E. (2008). The development of two types of inhibitory control in monolingual and bilingual children. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 11, 8193.
May, C. P., Kane, M. J., & Hasher, L. (1995). Determinants of negative priming. Psychological Bulletin, 118, 3554.
Miyake, A., & Friedman, K. C. (2012). The nature and organization of individual differences in executive functions: Four general conclusions. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 21, 814.
Miyake, A., Friedman, N. P., Emerson, M. J., Witzki, A. H., Howerter, A., & Wager, T. D. (2000). The unity and diversity of executive functions and their contributions to complex “frontal lobe” tasks: A latent variable analysis. Cognitive Psychology, 41, 49100.
Morales, J., Calvo, A., & Bialystok, E. (2013). Working memory development in monolingual and bilingual children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 114, 187202.
Norman, D. A., & Bobrow, D. G. (1975). On data-limited and resource-limited processes. Cognitive Psychology, 7, 4464.
Norman, W., & Shallice, T. (1986). Attention to action. In Davidson, R. J., Schwartz, G. E. & Shapiro, D. (eds.), Consciousness and self regulation: Advances in research and theory (vol. 4), pp. 118. New York: Plenum.
Paap, K. R., & Greenberg, Z. I. (2013). There is no coherent evidence for a bilingual advantage in executive processing. Cognitive Psychology, 66, 232258.
Prior, A., & Gollan, T. H. (2011). Good language-switchers are good task-switchers: Evidence from Spanish–English and Mandarin–English bilinguals. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 17, 682691.
Prior, A., & MacWhinney, B. (2010). A bilingual advantage in task switching. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 13, 253262.
Qu, L., Finestone, D. L., Loh, J. Q., & Leong, Z. R. (2012). Focused but fixed: The impact of expectation of external rewards on inhibitory control and flexibility in preschoolers. Emotion, 13, 562572.
Qu, L., Gao, S., Yip, C., Li, H., & Zelazo, P. D. (2012). Affective decision making in European Canadian, Chinese Canadian, Hong Kong Chinese, and mainland Chinese preschoolers. Child Studies in Diverse Contexts, 2, 123132.
Qu, L., Wijeya, S., Zelazo, P. D., & Craik, F. I. M. (2007). Executive function across the life span: Investigation through task-switching. Poster presented at the Society for Research in Child Development, Boston, MA.
Qu, L., & Zelazo, P. D. (2007). The facilitative effect of positive stimuli on 3-year-olds’ flexible rule use. Cognitive Development, 22, 456473.
Rogers, R. D., & Monsell, S. (1995). Costs of a predictable switch between simple cognitive tasks. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 124, 207231.
Rubinstein, J. S., Meyer, D. E., & Evans, J. E. (2001). Executive control of cognitive processes in task switching. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 27, 763797.
Schneider, W., Eschman, A., & Zuccolotto, A. (2002). E-Prime user's guide. Sharpsburg, PA: Psychology Software Tools.
Treccani, B., Argyri, E., Sorace, A., & Sala, S. D. (2009). Spatial negative priming in bilingualism. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 16, 320327.
Waggoner, T. L. (ed.). Ishihara Pseudoisochromatic Plate Compatible (PIPIC) Color Vision Test, 24 Plate Edition. Retrieved on Jan 5 2010, from http://colorvisiontesting.com/ishihara.htm.
Whitson, L. R., Karayanidis, F., & Michie, P. T. (2012). Task practice differentially modulates task-switching performance across the adult lifespan. Acta Psychologica, 139, 124136.
Wilson, C. M., Christensen, B. K., King, J. P., Qu, L., & Zelazo, P. D. (2008). Decomposing perseverative errors among undergraduates scoring high on the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire. Schizophrenia Research, 106, 312.
Yang, S., Yang, H., & Lust, B. (2011). Early childhood bilingualism leads to advances in executive attention: Dissociating culture and language. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 14, 412422.
Zelazo, P. D., Müller, U., Frye, D., & Marcovitch, S. (2003). The development of executive function in early childhood (Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development 68.3). Wiley Online Library.
Zelazo, P. D., Qu, L., & Müller, U. (2005). Hot and cool aspects of executive function: Relations in early development. In Schneider, W., Schumann-Hengsteler, R. & Sodian, B. (eds.), Young children's cognitive development: Interrelationships among executive functioning, working memory, verbal ability, and theory of mind, pp. 7193. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Keywords

Type Description Title
PDF
Supplementary materials

Qu supplementary material
Appendix

 PDF (57 KB)
57 KB

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed