Title: The effects of dual language exposure on executive function in Spanish–English bilingual children with different language abilities.
Legend: Dual language exposure was indexed by proportion of time children heard both Spanish and English in the same context. EF skills were indexed by the Dimensional Change Card Sort Task. Language skills were found to moderate the relationship between dual language exposure and EF skills. Children with higher language skills tended to have better shifting skills (smaller shifting costs) with greater dual language exposure. We measured language ability as a continuous variable, but for graphing purposes we divided language ability into thirds: low (language ability scores = 71-97), mid (language ability scores = 105-109) and high (language ability scores 110 – 136).
Citation: Crespo, K., Gross, M. & Kaushanskaya. M. (2019). The effects of dual language exposure on executive control in Spanish-English bilingual children with different language abilities. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 188, 1-19.
Abstract: The current study examined the effects of dual language exposure on executive function in 5- to 11-year-old Spanish-English bilingual children with different language skills. Dual language exposure was measured via parent report and was operationalized as the proportion of time spent in an environment where both English and Spanish were present. Executive function was measured via the Dimensional Change Card Sort (DCCS) task. Shifting costs, switching costs, and mixing costs were derived to index executive function performance. A significant interaction between extent of dual language exposure and language skills was observed such that children showed smaller shifting and mixing costs with increased dual language input as their language skills increased. The results suggest a graded effect of dual language exposure on executive function, where a robust language system may be required for dual language exposure to influence executive function.
About the Lab: Margarita Kaushanskaya is a professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Research in her Language Acquisition and Bilingualism Lab examines language and cognitive development in bilingual children with and without developmental disabilities.