Linguistics and English Language

Bilingualism reading group

Speaker: Lihua Xia (University of Edinburgh)

Title: Cognitive Functions and Bilingualism

Abstract: The question of whether being a bilingual confers a cognitive advantage is highly controversial. “Bilingual advantages” have been reported in some tasks involving response inhibition and conflict resolution but disappear in others. In addition, most previous studies used counterbalanced order of tasks to avoid the influence of test order on the participants’ performance, but few studies have explored these effects. Therefore, the current study aims at 1) exploring the “bilingual effect” and its potential influencing factors (language proficiency and learning intensity level); 2) investigating the “test order effect” in bilingualism study. Four widely-used non-linguistic tasks (Attention Network Task, Number Stroop, The Test of Everyday Attention, and Corsi Tapping task) have been applied with different cognitive measurements in the current study. The results support “bilingual advantages” that bilinguals 1) experience smaller conflict effect and switching cost; 2) show faster disengagement of attention; 3) exhibit better performance on attentional switching than monolinguals. In terms of potential influencing factors, results of this study suggest that language proficiency, rather than intensity level of language learning time, accounts for the observed “bilingual advantage”. Moreover, we observed effects of test order, which suggests that the task administration order should be taken into consideration in the study with multiple tasks.


Please contact Lihua Xia or Martha Robinson to find out specific dates for this semester and/or to be added on the mailing list.

Lihua Xia

Martha Robinson

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Further information:

Dec 03 2018 -

Bilingualism reading group

2018-12-03: Cognitive Functions and Bilingualism

Room S38, Psychology Building, 7 George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9JZ