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Open AccessArticle

Shifting Gear in the Study of the Bilingual Advantage: Language Switching Examined as a Possible Moderator

1
Department of Experimental Psychology, Ghent University, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
2
Onderzoeksgroep Experimentele Oto-rino-laryngologie, KU Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
3
Brussels Institute for Applied Linguistics, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Behav. Sci. 2019, 9(8), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs9080086
Received: 29 June 2019 / Revised: 17 July 2019 / Accepted: 30 July 2019 / Published: 15 August 2019
The bilingual advantage is a heavily debated topic in research on bilingualism. The current study further investigated one specific aspect of bilingualism proposed to be a determining factor for the bilingual advantage, namely language switching behaviour. We investigated whether a bilingual advantage can be detected in the executive functions of inhibition and shifting by comparing monolingual and bilingual participants on a Simon task and a colour–shape switching task. Furthermore, we examined the relation between these executive functions and language switching proficiency, as measured by a semantic verbal fluency task. In addition, the current study set out to investigate the convergence of self-reported language switching estimates and actual language switching proficiency. Results revealed a bilingual advantage for shifting, but not for inhibition. However, this bilingual advantage for shifting was not related to language switching behaviour. Additionally, we were unable to identify a relation between objective and subjective measures of switching abilities. These findings seem to confirm the existence of a bilingual advantage, but also once again validate its elusiveness, as demonstrated by the absence of bilingual benefits on our measure of inhibition. It furthermore questions the validity of switching measures employed in previous studies. View Full-Text
Keywords: bilingual advantage; executive control; language switching; shifting; inhibition; self-reports bilingual advantage; executive control; language switching; shifting; inhibition; self-reports
MDPI and ACS Style

Woumans, E.; Van Herck, S.; Struys, E. Shifting Gear in the Study of the Bilingual Advantage: Language Switching Examined as a Possible Moderator. Behav. Sci. 2019, 9, 86.

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