Bilingual Skills May Help Children Control Inhibitions Speaking two languages gives preschoolers an advantage in controlling reflexive responses, according to a longitudinal study published in Developmental Science. Researchers from the University of Oregon followed 1,146 preschoolers over 18 months. They divided participants into three groups: English monolinguals, Spanish-English bilinguals and children who transitioned from being Spanish monolingual ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   February 01, 2018
Bilingual Skills May Help Children Control Inhibitions
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Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   February 01, 2018
Bilingual Skills May Help Children Control Inhibitions
The ASHA Leader, February 2018, Vol. 23, 20. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB4.23022018.20
The ASHA Leader, February 2018, Vol. 23, 20. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB4.23022018.20
Speaking two languages gives preschoolers an advantage in controlling reflexive responses, according to a longitudinal study published in Developmental Science.
Researchers from the University of Oregon followed 1,146 preschoolers over 18 months. They divided participants into three groups: English monolinguals, Spanish-English bilinguals and children who transitioned from being Spanish monolingual to Spanish-English bilingual during the course of the study.
The children were assessed beginning at age 4, and then re-assessed at six and 18 months later. Inhibitory control (IC) was measured via a pencil-tapping test to see whether participants could master the impulse to imitate a behavior and modify their response to perform the opposite action. Children were instructed to tap a pencil twice on a desk whenever an experimenter tapped once, and the instructions were then reversed.
Researchers observed that bilingual children from Spanish-speaking homes showed higher IC performance when compared to their English monolingual peers. The bilingual group also showed a greater growth in IC skills over time.
Children who began the study as Spanish monolinguals had the lowest IC performance across all three groups, but their rate of IC growth exceeded the English monolingual group.
“Children with strong inhibitory control are better able to pay attention, follow instructions and take turns,” says study co-author Atika Khurana, professor in the Department of Counseling Psychology and Human Services and scientist at the University of Oregon’s Prevention Science Institute. “This study shows one way in which environmental influences can impact the development of inhibitory control during younger years.”
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February 2018
Volume 23, Issue 2