The moderating effect of bilingualism on lifespan cognitive development

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Vivas A.B.
Elisavet Chrysochoou
Aristea I Ladas
Vasiliki Salvari
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A growing amount of studies have explored the possible effects of bilingual experience on cognitive processes such executive functions; the early positive findings were followed by recent studies that have failed to replicate the so-called bilingual advantage. So far, evidence remains scarce with regard to developmental cognitive trajectories through the lifespan, as a function of bilingual experience. In the present work, we analyse a relatively large (N = 326) and comprehensive set of data from Albanian-Greek bilingual and Greek monolingual children (N = 119) and adults (N = 207), who were matched on SES level, intelligence and gender. Participants were assessed with the ANT and the Simon task. Results suggest that bilingual experience moderates age-related changes in monitoring in childhood, with overall RTs negatively related to age in both language groups, yet this relationship is weaker among bilingual children. Similar findings were also observed among adults, with age and monitoring correlated among monolinguals, but not in the bilinguals. Finally, only the monolingual participants showed a significant correlation between age and resistance to interference capacity (Simon effect). In conclusion, bilingualism seems to exert a differential influence on the relationship between age, attentional monitoring and resistance to interference capacity depending on the developmental phase studied and the measures obtained.
Ana B. Vivas, Elisavet Chrysochoou, Aristea I. Ladas, Vasiliki Salvari, The moderating effect of bilingualism on lifespan cognitive development, Cognitive Development, Volume 55, 2020, 100890, ISSN 0885-2014, (