Back to basics: a bilingual advantage in infant visual habituation

Child Dev. 2015 Jan-Feb;86(1):294-302. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12271. Epub 2014 Jul 30.


Comparisons of cognitive processing in monolinguals and bilinguals have revealed a bilingual advantage in inhibitory control. Recent studies have demonstrated advantages associated with exposure to two languages in infancy. However, the domain specificity and scope of the infant bilingual advantage in infancy remains unclear. In the present study, 114 monolingual and bilingual infants were compared in a very basic task of information processing-visual habituation-at 6 months of age. Bilingual infants demonstrated greater efficiency in stimulus encoding as well as in improved recognition memory for familiar stimuli as compared to monolinguals. Findings reveal a generalized cognitive advantage in bilingual infants that is broad in scope, early to emerge, and not specific to language.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Female
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Multilingualism*
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*