Scientific journal

New Psychological Research

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Pshonkovskaya P., Dr Ballieux H. The Effect of Bilingualism on Executive Functioning Found in Young Adults: an eye-tracking study

Polina Pshonkovskaya, BSc (Hons) Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Westminster, London, UK; 115 Cavendish Street, London, UK, W1W 6UW; polinapshonkovskaya@gmail.com
Dr Haiko Ballieux, Ph.D (Psychology), Senior Lecturer, University of Westminster,; 115 New Cavendish Street, London, UK, W1W 6UW; h.ballieux@westminster.ac.uk

The effect of bilingualism on executive functioning (EF) has long been a topic of discussion across the psycholinguistic field. It was previously assumed that acquiring two languages simultaneously may have an effect on the child’s cognitive development. This claim was later rejected and opposed by researchers who found that being fluent in two languages provides more cognitive benefits, than being fluent just in one language. Furthermore, neural processing in a bilingual brain influences several cognitive domains that were introduced by Miyake and Friedman’s framework, which explains the high inter-connectivity between specific executive functioning domains, such as inhibiting, monitoring, and updating. Aims and Methods: The current paper focused on establishing whether being bilingual aids executive functioning in a young adult population. Both monolingual (N = 16) and bilingual (N = 14) participants were tested on a number of cognitive tests. An eye-tracker was used to test inhibitory control, using pro- and anti-saccade conditions. Further, a multitasking and visuospatial working memory capacity task were completed using the press-pad. It was hypothesized that bilinguals will make less errors and initiate a faster response in comparison with monolinguals. However, no significant bilingual cognitive advantage was found in the three EFs components. However, bilinguals did initiate a saccade response faster in the inhibitory control task, while maintaining the same level of accuracy as the monolingual group. Future research should focus on improving the current paper design flaws as well as to include questionnaires for SES and IQ.

Key words: executive functions, bilingualism, visuo-spatial working memory, inhibitory control, multitasking, eye-tracking

For citations: Pshonkovskaya, P., Ballieux, H. (2021). The Effect of Bilingualism on Executive Functioning in Young Adults: an eye-tracking study. New Psychological Research, 4, 47–70. DOI: 10.51217/npsyresearch_2021_01_04_03

 

keywords: executive functions, bilingualism, visuo-spatial working memory, inhibitory control, multitasking, eye-tracking

received 28 December 2021

published 28 December 2021

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