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Bilingual children show an advantage in controlling verbal interference during spoken language comprehension

Filippi, R; Morris, J; Richarsdon, F; Bright, P; Thomas, MSC; Karmiloff-Smith, A; Marian, V; (2015) Bilingual children show an advantage in controlling verbal interference during spoken language comprehension. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition , 18 (3) pp. 490-501. 10.1017/S1366728914000686. Green open access

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Abstract

Studies measuring inhibitory control in the visual modality have shown a bilingual advantage in both children and adults. However, there is a lack of developmental research on inhibitory control in the auditory modality. This study compared the comprehension of active and passive English sentences in 7–10 years old bilingual and monolingual children. The task was to identify the agent of a sentence in the presence of verbal interference. The target sentence was cued by the gender of the speaker. Children were instructed to focus on the sentence in the target voice and ignore the distractor sentence. Results indicate that bilinguals are more accurate than monolinguals in comprehending syntactically complex sentences in the presence of linguistic noise. This supports previous findings with adult participants (Filippi, Leech, Thomas, Green & Dick, 2012). We therefore conclude that the bilingual advantage in interference control begins early in life and is maintained throughout development.

Type: Article
Title: Bilingual children show an advantage in controlling verbal interference during spoken language comprehension
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S1366728914000686
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1366728914000686
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: bilingualism, executive function, sentence comprehension, spoken language processing, inhibitory control, control of interference
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1522096
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