Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 11 (2), 282-98

Bilingual Experience and Executive Functioning in Young Children

Affiliations

Bilingual Experience and Executive Functioning in Young Children

Stephanie M Carlson et al. Dev Sci.

Abstract

Advanced inhibitory control skills have been found in bilingual speakers as compared to monolingual controls (Bialystok, 1999). We examined whether this effect is generalized to an unstudied language group (Spanish-English bilingual) and multiple measures of executive function by administering a battery of tasks to 50 kindergarten children drawn from three language groups: native bilinguals, monolinguals (English), and English speakers enrolled in second-language immersion kindergarten. Despite having significantly lower verbal scores and parent education/income level, Spanish-English bilingual children's raw scores did not differ from their peers. After statistically controlling for these factors and age, native bilingual children performed significantly better on the executive function battery than both other groups. Importantly, the relative advantage was significant for tasks that appear to call for managing conflicting attentional demands (Conflict tasks); there was no advantage on impulse-control (Delay tasks). These results advance our understanding of both the generalizability and specificity of the compensatory effects of bilingual experience for children's cognitive development.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Performance on conflict and delay measures of executive function according to language group. Scores shown are estimated means after adjusting for group differences in age, verbal ability, and parent education levels. Bars represent standard errors.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 143 PubMed Central articles

See all "Cited by" articles

Publication types

Feedback