ERIC Number: EJ1043805
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Nov
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Are Bilingual Children Better at Ignoring Perceptually Misleading Information? A Novel Test
Goldman, Meghan C.; Negen, James; Sarnecka, Barbara W.
Developmental Science, v17 n6 p956-964 Nov 2014
Does speaking more than one language help a child perform better on certain types of cognitive tasks? One possibility is that bilingualism confers either specific or general cognitive advantages on tasks that require selective attention to one dimension over another (e.g. Bialystok, [Bialystok, E., 2001]; Hilchey & Klein, [Hilchey, M.D., 2011]). Other studies have looked for such an advantage but found none (e.g. Morton & Harper, [Morton, J.B., 2007]; Paap & Greenberg, [Paap, K.R., 2013]). The present study compared monolingual and bilingual children's performance on a numerical discrimination task, which required children to ignore area and attend to number. Ninety-two children, ages 3 to 6 years, were asked which of two arrays of dots had 'more dots'. Half of the trials were congruent, where the numerically greater array was also larger in total area, and half were incongruent, where the numerically greater array was smaller in total area. All children performed better on congruent than on incongruent trials. Older children were more successful than younger children at ignoring area in favor of number. Bilingual children did not perform differently from monolingual children either in number discrimination itself (i.e. identifying which array had more dots) or at selectively attending to number. The present study thus finds no evidence of a bilingual advantage on this task for children of this age.
Descriptors: Bilingualism, Young Children, Monolingualism, Comparative Analysis, Visual Discrimination, Numbers, Attention, Age Differences
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS); National Science Foundation
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Grant or Contract Numbers: R03HD054654|DRL 0953521