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.
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