Cognitive Psychology

Abstract on Advantage of Bilinguals over Monolinguals

The increased global connection and mobility had increases the population who have now become bilingual. Many researches has revealed that bilingualism has an effect over cognitive behavior of an individual. The aim of the present study was to investigate the executive task performance of bilinguals and monolinguals and show a comparison between the acquired data. We hypothesized that the bilinguals would be demonstrating better results than the monolinguals. We also hypothesized that the result attained would show significant difference between the performance of bilinguals and monolinguals. For our study, we interviewed 594 participants out of which 122 participants were excluded per group. Total 366 undergraduate psychology students from the University of Melbourne participated. Participants first completed a combined go/no-go arrow flanker test and then completed a set of questionnaire about their language background and usage. Participants were categorised as dual language, single language and dense code switching.

Keywords: bilingual, monolingual, cognitive skills, executive control, neural process.

Advantage of Bilinguals Over Monolinguals While Performing Executive Control Tasks

The bilingualism is becoming more prevalent as the world is becoming more interconnected. Some countries support their bilingual citizen to enhance their cultural and linguistic diversity among its population. The increased global connection and mobility had increases the population who have now become bilingual. Many researches has revealed that bilingualism has an effect over cognitive behavior of an individual. Bialystok and team conducted a study to analysis the effect of bilingualism on the brain and behavior of people. They found out that there is no difference between language acquisition for monolingual and bilingual children, but they might use different strategies. Monolingual children, generally, have more vocabulary as compare to bilingual as they focus on only one language (Bialystok et al, 2009). On the other hand, similar results for adults was acquired. Adult bilingual normally might know fewer words as compare to monolingual when asked to write an initial or membership letter.

The bilingualism’s impact on the person’s nonverbal cognitive processing was analyzed. Bialystok et al, 2009, founded that the executive control functions is enhanced in this case. The evidences indicated that the enhanced executive control might be advantageous in older age to mitigate cognitive decline and enhance cognitive reserve, therefore reducing the probability of Alzheimer’s disease (Bialystok et al, 2009). They assessed bilingual children and adults for clinical intervention based on languages delay in children or stroke in adults, the results were different for bilinguals as compared to those of monolinguals (Bialystok et al, 2009).

Kroll et al, 2014 discovered the reason behind enthusiastic discoveries in bilingualism in past two decades. They consider first reason to be the parallel activation of both languages. This means that the bilinguals constantly needs to switch between languages when any one needs to be selected. The cross-language competition is existing at every level of language processing, therefore the adaptive behaviour of the bilinguals form an active system that controls the requirements on cognitive resources (Kroll et al, 2014). The other reason found to be the effect of native language, the native language transform into second-language. The third reason found to be that the impact of bilingualism is not limited to language but also have influence on the neural processes and cognitive responses (Kroll et al, 2014).

Kroll et al, 2013 concluded from their research that the bilingualism certainly requires mental juggling at every level of language processing (Kroll et al, 2013). The literature survey conducted by Kroll and colleagues revealed that the interlingual homophones produced interference bilingual during recognition of word. The study also shows that it is always native language that is inhibits.

However, the enhancement of cognitive response is still a debatable topic. To measure the social and cognitive skills in bilinguals, Chamorro & Janke, 2020, performed a study on Spanish students who were pursuing bilingual education yet raised monolingually. They compare three groups of children in their first year of primary education who were raised monolingually. Group one was educated in monolingual education system, group two was educated in bilingual system with ratio 40:60 (English-Spanish) and group three was enrolled in bilingual education with ration 30:70. After one year of primary education, the bilingual children shows better performance in social skills (co-operation and communication) and cognitive skills (response inhibition and selective attention) as compare to those of monolingual. On the other hand, group three outperformed group two on some of the levels (Chamorro & Janke, 2020).

The aim of the present study was to investigate the executive task performance of bilinguals and monolinguals and show a comparison between the acquired data. We hypothesized that the bilinguals would be demonstrating better results than the monolinguals. We also hypothesized that the result attained would show significant difference between the performance of bilinguals and monolinguals.

Method

Participants

A total of 366 undergraduate psychology students at The University of Melbourne participated as part of a class activity.

Materials and Measures

Participants first completed a combined go/no-go arrow flanker task adapted from Fan et al. (2002). On the flanker trials, participants saw a line of five arrows and were instructed to make a left or right button press response according to the direction in which the central arrow was pointing and to ignore the arrows on either side of the central arrow, which were pointing in either the same (congruent) or the opposite direction (incongruent) to the target. The arrows remained on-screen until a response was made, and the time from stimulus presentation until response was recorded. On the no-go trials, the arrows surrounding the central arrow were replaced by crosses and participants were instructed to withhold their response. To ensure that prepotent motor activity was elicited prior to the no-go trials that would have to be inhibited, the no-go trials occurred in a 1:4 ratio to the flanker trials. Each trial was preceded by a fixation cross which appeared for 500 ms. In the event of an incorrect response, the word “WRONG” was presented for 800 ms before the next trial began; no feedback was given for correct responses. The time-out for no-go trials was 1500 ms. The intertrial interval was 1000 ms. There were 160 trials in total (64 congruent, 64 incongruent, and 32 no-go), divided across four blocks of 40 trials each, with accuracy displayed at the end of each block. The trial order was randomized for each participant.

Participants then completed a questionnaire about their language background and usage. They were asked to list the languages they spoke, and to rate their proficiency in and frequency of use of each language from one to ten. Then, they were given a list of seven common situations and were asked to rate their agreement from one to seven with three items for each situation: “I tend to speak to some people in one language, and other people in a different language”, “I tend to only speak in one language”, and “I tend to use more than one language within one sentence”. These items reflected the dual-language, single-language, and dense-code switching interactional context, respectively. The scores for each situation were weighted according to the percentage of time participants estimated themselves to spend in each situation in a given week, and then scores for each item were summed across all situations to produce a total score for each of the three items. Data Processing

Participants who achieved below 80% accuracy on the flanker trials were excluded from analyses, resulting in the loss of XX participants. Of those remaining, response times (RTs) faster than 200 ms or slower than 1000 ms were excluded from the analyses, which resulted in XX.XX% of trials lost. A flanker effect was calculated for each participant by computing the average RT for correct responses on the flanker congruent and flanker incongruent trials and then subtracting the average for congruent trials from the average for incongruent trials. No-go accuracy was computed as the percentage of no-go trials on which a response was correctly withheld.

For the language questionnaire, participants were classified as monolingual if they reported speaking only one language or if they reported speaking more than one language but rated their proficiency or frequency of use in their additional languages as two or less. The remaining participants were classified into the dual-language, single-language, or dense code-switching context based on the corresponding item on which they scored the highest. Participants who fell into the dense code-switching group were then excluded from the analyses. To ensure a balanced design, a subset of participants was randomly selected from each of the two larger groups to match the size of the smallest group, giving XX participants in each group.

References for Advantage of Bilinguals over Monolinguals

Kroll, J. F., Bobb, S. C., & Hoshino, N. (2014). Two languages in mind: Bilingualism as a tool to investigate language, cognition, and the brain. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23(3), 159-163.

Kroll, J. F., & Bialystok, E. (2013). Understanding the consequences of bilingualism for language processing and cognition. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 25, 497–514.

Bialystok, E., Craik, F. I., Green, D. W., & Gollan, T. H. (2009). Bilingual minds. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 10(3), 89-129.

Chamorro, G., & Janke, V. (2020). Investigating the bilingual advantage: the impact of L2 exposure on the social and cognitive skills of monolingually-raised children in bilingual education. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 1–17.doi:10.1080/13670050.2020.1799323 

Fan, J., McCandliss, B. D., Sommer, T., Raz, A., & Posner, M. I. (2002). Testing the efficiency and independence of attentional networks. Journal of cognitive neuroscience14(3), 340-347.

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