Does the bilingual experience influence task-switching and inhibition ability in the executive functioning of children?
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Previous research suggesting the bilingual experience may enhance a person’s task-switching and inhibition ability within the executive functioning (EF) system are limited and inconsistent. Much of the previous research explores bilingual EF advantages within adult populations, yet it has been argued adults and children learn differently. Therefore, this study explored using an experimental and quantitative mixed design, a Welsh and English version of the Stroop-task to measure task-switching and inhibition abilities to determine if bilingualism enhanced the EF of children aged between nine and eleven years old from a Welsh-medium primary school and an English-medium primary school in South Wales. Background checks revealed significant socio-economic status (SES) differences within the sample. As SES has been found to influence EF, any effects found could not be attributed to bilingualism alone. Although no significant main effects were found, children from Welsh-English speaking low-SES homes performed faster on the English Stroop-task than those from English-only speaking high-SES homes, despite research supporting those from higher-SES backgrounds having better EF than those from lower-SES backgrounds, arguably due to an enhanced EF ability. Future research replicating this study using a larger sample with no significant SES effects may support a bilingual EF advantage within children.
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