Poster E34, Monday, March 27, 2:30 – 4:30 pm, Pacific Concourse
Effect of language proficiency and age of acquisition on executive function in bilinguals
Vickie Yu1, Emma Aleksanyan1, Kathryn Balina1, Bernice Briones1, Katya Gomez1; 1Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences, California State University, Northridge
Research has linked cognitive control to language performance. A considerable body of evidence has accumulated suggesting positive effects of bilingualism on executive function control tasks. Studies in second language (L2) acquisition have reported that age of acquisition and daily usage of L2 are important elements that may affect the degree of proficiency attained in L2. However, most studies of executive functioning in bilinguals only include those with high proficiency in both languages. Very little research has been done on the topic of unbalanced bilinguals; that is, those whose L2 proficiency has not yet reached the same level as that of their first language. The current proposal thus aimed to investigate whether the degree of proficiency, daily usage and age of acquisition in L2 affect the cognitive advantage in bilinguals, and further aimed to elucidate how these factors possibly interact while examining cognitive advantage in bilinguals. Experiments consisted of a language background questionnaire and three computer-based tasks, including naming, strip and Simon tasks. We tested 80 participants consisting of 60 bilinguals and 20 monolingual speakers as a control group. The bilingual speakers were divided into three groups according to age of acquisition, proficiency level, and daily usage of L2. The results show a high positive correlation between the executive control function and proficiency level as well as daily usage of L2. These data further indicate that age of acquisition may not be the only factor that must be considered in examining executive function in bilinguals.
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Monitoring & inhibitory control