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Title:Bilingualism and cognition: exploring the bilingual cognitive advantage across the lifespan
Author(s):Boudros, Henrietta N
Director of Research:Golato, Peter
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Fresco, Karen
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Christianson, Kiel; Kibbee, Douglas
Department / Program:French and Italian
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Cognitive and linguistic processing
Cognitive control
Abstract:Research has demonstrated that bilingual children who constantly juggle two languages have better controlled processing and enhanced executive function (Bialystok, 2001; Bialystok & Martin, 2004). These findings have also been extended to adults whereby bilingual adults across the lifespan were found to have smaller interference effects than monolingual adults on a number of measures thought to involve cognitive and/or word-level linguistic control, for instance the Simon, Flanker, and Stroop tasks (see e.g., Bialystok et al., 2004). The claims of this hypothesis are controversial, however, with several recent studies finding no evidence of the advantage (Hilchey & Klein, 2011; Kousaie & Phillips,2012, Kousaie et al., 2012, Paap & Greenberg, 2013, Paap et al., 2014) and of the calls for more research (Abutalebi & Clahsen, 2015; Bialystok & Kroll, 2013; Titone & Baum, 2014; Valian, 2015), especially with older adults, the present study examines how bilingual language experiences can impact cognitive-linguistic processing across the lifespan. This study further investigates the Bilingual Cognitive Advantage (BCA) hypothesis, which holds that bilinguals can show evidence of having certain cognitive advantages relative to monolinguals (Bialystok et al., 2004, 2006, 2008 a,b; Costa et al., 2008; Hernandez et al., 2010; Salvatierra & Rosselli, 2011; Bialystok et al., 2014; Blumenfeld & Marian, 2014). Participants included French-English and English-French bilinguals and both English and French monolinguals between 18-80 years of age (n=131). Tasks which served as proxy measures of executive function included English- and French-language versions of the Simon, Stroop, Corsi block task, Verbal fluency test, and Aospan. Results from these tasks considered together with language-related experiential variables are interpreted as supporting the BCA hypothesis. Findings are discussed with respect to possible future avenues of research.
Issue Date:2017-02-09
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Henrietta Boudros
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-08-10
Date Deposited:2017-05

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