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ERIC Number: EJ871393
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 59
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Global-Local and Trail-Making Tasks by Monolingual and Bilingual Children: Beyond Inhibition
Bialystok, Ellen
Developmental Psychology, v46 n1 p93-105 Jan 2010
In 3 experiments, a total of 151 monolingual and bilingual 6-year-old children performed similarly on measures of language and cognitive ability; however, bilinguals solved the global-local and trail-making tasks more rapidly than monolinguals. This bilingual advantage was found not only for the traditionally demanding conditions (incongruent global-local trials and Trails B) but also for the conditions not usually considered to be cognitively demanding (congruent global-local trials and Trails A). All the children performed similarly when congruent trials were presented in a single block or when perceptually simple stimuli were used, ruling out speed differences between the groups. The results demonstrate a bilingual advantage in processing complex stimuli in tasks that require executive processing components for conflict resolution, including switching and updating, even when no inhibition appears to be involved. They also suggest that simple conditions of the trail-making and global-local tasks involve some level of effortful processing for young children. Finally, the bilingual advantage in the trail-making task suggests that the interpretation of standardized measures of executive control needs to be reconsidered for children with specific experiences, such as bilingualism. (Contains 6 tables and 4 figures.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A