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IDENTIFYING A THRESHOLD FOR THE EXECUTIVE FUNCTION ADVANTAGE IN BILINGUAL CHILDREN

  • Cecile De Cat (a1), Arief Gusnanto (a1) and Ludovica Serratrice (a2)

Abstract

The literature exploring the executive function correlates of bilingualism is vast, but to date, few studies have concentrated on children, for whom the bilingual advantage appears even more inconsistent than for adults. We investigate a highly heterogeneous group of children (in terms of bilingual experience and socioeconomic status) and identify the critical threshold of bilingual experience from which an advantage can be observed at group level. The modeling methods adopted allow the use of fine-grained, continuous factors for age and socioeconomic status, thereby effectively controlling for their effect and isolating the specific effect of bilingual experience. We pioneer the use of Cox Proportional Hazard regression to analyze performance in the Simon task. This allows the modeling of all data points without transformation or outlier removal, and captures both accuracy and reaction time within the same analysis, while being able to handle multiple predictor variables.

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Corresponding author

*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Cecile De Cat, University of Leeds, Linguistics & Phonetics, School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, Leeds, United Kingdom, LS2 9JT. E-mail: c.decat@leeds.ac.uk

Footnotes

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This research was funded by a grant from the Leverhulme Trust (RPG-2012-633), which is gratefully acknowledged. Warm thanks to Sanne Berends and Furzana Shah for the data collection and coding, the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and challenges, the many schools who opened their doors to our project, the participating children for their enthusiasm and their efforts, and their parents for filling lengthy questionnaires.

Footnotes

References

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