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Title: Is there a relationship between bilingual language switching and executive functions in bilingualism? Introducing a within-group analysis approach
Author: Soveri, Anna
Rodríguez Fornells, Antoni
Laine, Matti
Keywords: Bilingüisme
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Frontiers Media
Abstract: Several studies have suggested a bilingual advantage in executive functions, presumably due to bilinguals' massive practice with language switching that requires executive resources, but the results are still somewhat controversial. Previous studies are also plagued by the inherent limitations of a natural groups design where the participant groups are bound to differ in many ways in addition to the variable used to classify them. In an attempt to introduce a complementary analysis approach, we employed multiple regression to study whether the performance of 30- to 75-year-old Finnish<br>Swedish bilinguals (N = 38) on tasks measuring different executive functions (inhibition, updating, and set shifting) could be predicted by the frequency of language switches in everyday life (as measured by a language switching questionnaire), L2 age of acquisition, or by the self-estimated degree of use of both languages in everyday life. Most consistent effects were found for the set shifting task where a higher rate of everyday language switches was related to a smaller mixing cost in errors. Mixing cost is thought to reflect top-down management of competing task sets, thus resembling the bilingual situation where decisions of which language to use has to be made in each conversation. These findings provide additional support to the idea that some executive functions in bilinguals are affected by a lifelong experience in language switching and, perhaps even more importantly, suggest a complementary approach to the study of this issue.
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It is part of: Frontiers in Physiology , 2011, vol. 2, num. 183, p. 1-8
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ISSN: 1664-042X
Appears in Collections:Articles publicats en revistes (Cognició, Desenvolupament i Psicologia de l'Educació)

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