Bilingual Analysis

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The effects of bilingualism on children’s cognitive development have received considerable attention in recent years. Bilinguals’ ability to use two or more languages was initially considered as a disadvantage in the 1960s, because exposing individuals to two or more different languages can be potentially confusing for language learners (Dreifus, 2011). However, this belief was later challenged by Peal and Lambert (1962), who showed that English-French bilingual children outperformed their French-speaking monolingual peers on both verbal and nonverbal intelligence tests. Contrary to the conventional view that bilinguals would display mental confusion and retardation, Peal and Lambert (1962) argued that bilinguals have a greater mental flexibility,…show more content…
Bilingual children tend to respond faster and more accurately than monolingual children in both congruent and incongruent trials (). Although there is a bilingual advantage in interference suppression, findings on response inhibition (the ability to control impulses) is not a consistent, with some studies showing equivalent performances in monolinguals and bilinguals…show more content…
In addition, these effects of bilingualism not only extend to cognitive flexibility, but also working memory (). The dimensional change card sort task (DCCS), developed by Zelazo, Frye, and Rapus (1996), is commonly used to measure cognitive flexibility. In this task, children need to sort a set of cards depicting stimuli by one dimension (e.g., color), then resorted the cards by the other (e.g., shape). Young children often have great difficulty in the second sorting because successful performance requires children to inhibit the first rule, shift attention to the new rule, and hold the current rule in mind. When this task was replicated with bilingual and monolingual children aged between 4 and 5 years, the bilingual children performed more successfully in switching to the new role than monolingual children did ().
However, the bilingual advantage of working memory has not been consistently reported, with some showing no difference between monolinguals and bilinguals and others showing that bilinguals outperform monolinguals (). And it is worth noting that this bilingual advantage in working memory is more evident when the task contains high levels of executive function demands

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