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      Linguistic and Cognitive Skills in Sardinian–Italian Bilingual Children


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          We report the results of a study which tested receptive Italian grammatical competence and general cognitive abilities in bilingual Italian–Sardinian children and age-matched monolingual Italian children attending the first and second year of primary school in the Nuoro province of Sardinia, where Sardinian is still widely spoken. The results show that across age groups the performance of Sardinian–Italian bilingual children is in most cases indistinguishable from that of monolingual Italian children, in terms of both Italian language skills and general cognitive abilities. However, where there are differences, these emerge gradually over time and are mostly in favor of bilingual children.

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          The Nature and Organization of Individual Differences in Executive Functions: Four General Conclusions.

          Executive functions (EFs)-a set of general-purpose control processes that regulate one's thoughts and behaviors-have become a popular research topic lately and have been studied in many subdisciplines of psychological science. This article summarizes the EF research that our group has conducted to understand the nature of individual differences in EFs and their cognitive and biological underpinnings. In the context of a new theoretical framework that we have been developing (the unity/diversity framework), we describe four general conclusions that have emerged from our research. Specifically, we argue that individual differences in EFs, as measured with simple laboratory tasks, (1) show both unity and diversity (different EFs are correlated yet separable); (2) reflect substantial genetic contributions; (3) are related to various clinically and societally important phenomena; and (4) show some developmental stability.
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            The Dimensional Change Card Sort (DCCS): a method of assessing executive function in children.

            The dimensional change card sort (DCCS) is an easily administered and widely used measure of executive function that is suitable for use with participants across a wide range of ages. In the standard version, children are required to sort a series of bivalent test cards, first according to one dimension (e.g., color), and then according to the other (e.g., shape). Most 3-year-olds perseverate during the post-switch phase, exhibiting a pattern of inflexibility similar to that seen in patients with prefrontal cortical damage. By 5 years of age, most children switch when instructed to do so. Performance on the DCCS provides an index of the development of executive function, and it is impaired in children with disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism. We describe the protocol for the standard version (duration = 5 min) and the more challenging border version (duration = 5 min), which may be used with children as old as 7 years.
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              Are there bilingual advantages on nonlinguistic interference tasks? Implications for the plasticity of executive control processes.

              It has been proposed that the unique need for early bilinguals to manage multiple languages while their executive control mechanisms are developing might result in long-term cognitive advantages on inhibitory control processes that generalize beyond the language domain. We review the empirical data from the literature on nonlinguistic interference tasks to assess the validity of this proposed bilingual inhibitory control advantage. Our review of these findings reveals that the bilingual advantage on conflict resolution, which by hypothesis is mediated by inhibitory control, is sporadic at best, and in some cases conspicuously absent. A robust finding from this review is that bilinguals typically outperform monolinguals on both compatible and incompatible trials, often by similar magnitudes. Together, these findings suggest that bilinguals do enjoy a more widespread cognitive advantage (a bilingual executive processing advantage) that is likely observable on a variety of cognitive assessment tools but that, somewhat ironically, is most often not apparent on traditional assays of nonlinguistic inhibitory control processes.

                Author and article information

                Front Psychol
                Front Psychol
                Front. Psychol.
                Frontiers in Psychology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                17 December 2015
                : 6
                [1] 1Department of Psychology, School of Life Science, Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh, UK
                [2] 2School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, The University of Edinburgh Edinburgh, UK
                Author notes

                Edited by: Terje Lohndal, Norwegian University of Science and Technology and UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Norway

                Reviewed by: Anne Dahl, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway; Kleanthes K. Grohmann, University of Cyprus, Cyprus

                *Correspondence: Maria Garraffa, m.garraffa@ 123456hw.ac.uk

                This article was submitted to Language Sciences, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology

                Copyright © 2015 Garraffa, Beveridge and Sorace.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 6, Tables: 8, Equations: 0, References: 92, Pages: 15, Words: 0
                Original Research

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                minority languages,grammar,bilingualism,executive functions,sardinian,object relatives


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