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The bilingual effect on Boston Naming Test performance

  • TAMAR H. GOLLAN (a1) (a2), CHRISTINE FENNEMA-NOTESTINE (a1) (a2) (a3), ROSA I. MONTOYA (a4) and TERRY L. JERNIGAN (a1) (a2) (a3)


The present study aimed to determine how older bilingual subjects' naming performance is affected by their knowledge of two languages. Twenty-nine aging (mean age = 74.0; SD = 7.1) Spanish–English bilinguals were asked to name all pictures in the Boston Naming Test (BNT) first in their dominant language and then in their less-dominant language. Bilinguals with similar naming scores in each language, or relatively balanced bilinguals, named more pictures correctly when credited for producing a correct name in either language. Balanced bilinguals also named fewer pictures in their dominant language than unbalanced bilinguals, and named more pictures correctly in both languages if the pictures had cognate names (e.g., dart is dardo in Spanish). Unbalanced bilinguals did not benefit from the alternative (either-language) scoring procedure and showed cognate effects only in their nondominant language. These findings may help to guide the interpretation of neuropsychological data for the purpose of determining cognitive status in older bilinguals and can be used to develop models of bilingual language processing. Bilinguals' ability to name pictures reflects their experience with word forms in both languages. (JINS, 2007, 13, 197–208.)


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to: Tamar H. Gollan, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, 0949, La Jolla, CA 92093-0949, USA. E-mail:


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The bilingual effect on Boston Naming Test performance

  • TAMAR H. GOLLAN (a1) (a2), CHRISTINE FENNEMA-NOTESTINE (a1) (a2) (a3), ROSA I. MONTOYA (a4) and TERRY L. JERNIGAN (a1) (a2) (a3)


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