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Attentional Fluctuations, Cognitive Flexibility, and Bilingualism in Kindergarteners

Department of Psychiatry and Weill Institute for Neurosciences, University of California San Francisco, 401 Parnassus Ave., San Francisco, CA 94143, USA
Department of Psychology, University of California Berkeley, 2121 Berkeley Way, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA
Basque Center on Cognition, Brain, and Language (BCBL), Mikeletegi Pasealekua 69, 20009 Donostia, Spain
IKERBASQUE, Basque Foundation for Science, Maria Diaz de Haro 3, 6 Solairua, 48013 Bilbao, Spain
Departamento de Lengua Vasca y Comunicación, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Barrio Sarriena, 48940 Leioa, Spain
Brain Imaging Research Center (BIRC), Institute for Brain and Cognitive Sciences (IBaCS), Departments of Psychological Sciences, Neuroscience and Psychiatry, University of Connecticut, 850 Bolton Road, Storrs, CT 06269, USA
Haskins Laboratories, 300 George St #900, New Haven, CT 06511, USA
Department of Neuropsychiatry, Keio University School of Medicine, 35 Shinanomachi Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-8582, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Behav. Sci. 2019, 9(5), 58;
Received: 22 February 2019 / Revised: 7 May 2019 / Accepted: 21 May 2019 / Published: 24 May 2019
The idea of a bilingual advantage in aspects of cognitive control—including cognitive flexibility, inhibition, working memory, and attention—is disputed. Using a sample of kindergarten children, the present study investigated associations between bilingualism and cognitive flexibility—a relationship that has shown mixed findings in prior literature. We also extend prior work by exploring relationships between bilingualism and attentional fluctuations, which represent consistency in attentional control and contribute to cognitive performance. To our knowledge, no previous study has explored this association. Theoretically, attentional fluctuations might mediate or moderate the relationship between bilingualism and cognitive flexibility. However, given evidence of null findings from extant literature when confounding variables are adequately controlled and tasks are standardized, we did not expect to find a bilingual advantage in either cognitive flexibility or attentional fluctuations. Our results supported this hypothesis when considering bilingualism both continuously and categorically. The importance of expanding upon mechanistic accounts connecting bilingualism to cognitive improvements is discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: bilingualism; early childhood; attention; cognitive flexibility bilingualism; early childhood; attention; cognitive flexibility
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MDPI and ACS Style

Haft, S.L.; Kepinska, O.; Caballero, J.N.; Carreiras, M.; Hoeft, F. Attentional Fluctuations, Cognitive Flexibility, and Bilingualism in Kindergarteners. Behav. Sci. 2019, 9, 58.

AMA Style

Haft SL, Kepinska O, Caballero JN, Carreiras M, Hoeft F. Attentional Fluctuations, Cognitive Flexibility, and Bilingualism in Kindergarteners. Behavioral Sciences. 2019; 9(5):58.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Haft, Stephanie L., Olga Kepinska, Jocelyn N. Caballero, Manuel Carreiras, and Fumiko Hoeft. 2019. "Attentional Fluctuations, Cognitive Flexibility, and Bilingualism in Kindergarteners" Behavioral Sciences 9, no. 5: 58.

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