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Cognitive control among immersed bilinguals: Considering differences in linguistic and non-linguistic processing

  • LAURA SABOURIN (a1) and SANTA VĪNERTE (a1)

Abstract

While several studies have shown a bilingual advantage in cognitive control, others have refuted such findings, leading to debates regarding the existence of bilingual benefits. The current study conducts two experiments to investigate this issue, focusing on the effect of the age of second language immersion in young adult non-immigrant bilinguals. We use a colour-word Stroop task to assess linguistic cognitive control, and an Attention Network Test to examine non-linguistic cognitive control. Results show significant differences between Simultaneous and Early Sequential bilinguals (typically grouped together as ‘early’) in the Stroop task, but these only become apparent when both languages are mixed. Simultaneous bilinguals also show improved Executive Control efficiency, particularly in the presence of alerting and orienting cues, suggesting enhanced attentional skills for this group. We discuss these findings with respect to participant grouping and task effects, noting the importance of the language environment.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Laura Sabourin, University of Ottawa, Department of Linguistics, 70 Laurier Ave. E., Ottawa, ON, K1N 6N5CanadaLaura.Sabourin@uOttawa.ca

Footnotes

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The authors thank Chantal Farhat, Natalie Ho, Joy Yu Ying Li, Sameer Ratti, and Cooper Rigg for their assistance in data collection. We also thank Christie Brien, Michèle Burkholder, members of the ERPLing Lab and three anonymous reviewers for feedback on several aspects of this project. Laura Sabourin was supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Standard Research Grant and by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Grant, and Santa Vīnerte was supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship and an Ontario Graduate Scholarship.

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References

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