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Title: Individual differences in control of language interference in late bilinguals are mainly related to general executive abilities
Author: Festman, Julia
Rodríguez Fornells, Antoni
Münte, Thomas F.
Keywords: Diferències individuals
Llenguatge i llengües
Psicologia cognitiva
Individual differences
Language and languages
Cognitive psychology
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: BioMed Central
Abstract: Background: Recent research based on comparisons between bilinguals and monolinguals postulates that bilingualism enhances cognitive control functions, because the parallel activation of languages necessitates control of interference. In a novel approach we investigated two groups of bilinguals, distinguished by their susceptibility to cross-language interference, asking whether bilinguals with strong language control abilities ('non-switchers") have an advantage in executive functions (inhibition of irrelevant information, problem solving, planning efficiency, generative fluency and self-monitoring) compared to those bilinguals showing weaker language control abilities ('switchers"). Methods: 29 late bilinguals (21 women) were evaluated using various cognitive control neuropsychological tests [e.g., Tower of Hanoi, Ruff Figural Fluency Task, Divided Attention, Go/noGo] tapping executive functions as well as four subtests of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. The analysis involved t-tests (two independent samples). Non-switchers (n = 16) were distinguished from switchers (n = 13) by their performance observed in a bilingual picture-naming task. Results: The non-switcher group demonstrated a better performance on the Tower of Hanoi and Ruff Figural Fluency task, faster reaction time in a Go/noGo and Divided Attention task, and produced significantly fewer errors in the Tower of Hanoi, Go/noGo, and Divided Attention tasks when compared to the switchers. Non-switchers performed significantly better on two verbal subtests of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (Information and Similarity), but not on the Performance subtests (Picture Completion, Block Design). Conclusions: The present results suggest that bilinguals with stronger language control have indeed a cognitive advantage in the administered tests involving executive functions, in particular inhibition, self-monitoring, problem solving, and generative fluency, and in two of the intelligence tests. What remains unclear is the direction of the relationship between executive functions and language control abilities.
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It is part of: Behavioral and Brain Functions, 2010, vol. 6, num. 5, p. 1-12
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ISSN: 1744-9081
Appears in Collections:Articles publicats en revistes (Cognició, Desenvolupament i Psicologia de l'Educació)

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