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ERIC Number: EJ1148148
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Jul
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0267-6583
Bilingualism and Working Memory Capacity: A Comprehensive Meta-Analysis
Grundy, John G.; Timmer, Kalinka
Second Language Research, v33 n3 p325-340 Jul 2017
Bilinguals often outperform monolinguals on executive function tasks, including tasks that tap cognitive flexibility, conflict monitoring, and task-switching abilities. Some have suggested that bilinguals also have greater working memory capacity than comparable monolinguals, but evidence for this suggestion is mixed. We therefore conducted a comprehensive meta-analysis on the effects of bilingualism on working memory capacity. Results from 88 effect sizes, 27 independent studies, and 2,901 participants revealed a significant small to medium population effect size of 0.20 in favor of greater working memory capacity for bilinguals than monolinguals. This suggests that experience managing two languages that compete for selection results in greater working memory capacity over time. Moderator analyses revealed that largest effects were observed in children than other age groups. Furthermore, whether the task was performed in the first (L1) or second (L2) language for bilinguals moderated the effect size of the bilingual advantage; this factor is often overlooked and our results point to the importance of defining language variables that influence critical cognitive outcomes.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A