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      Behavioral and Electrophysiological Differences in Executive Control Between Monolingual and Bilingual Children

      1 , 2 , 3 , 2

      Child Development

      Wiley

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          Most cited references 46

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          Electrophysiological correlates of anterior cingulate function in a go/no-go task: effects of response conflict and trial type frequency.

          Neuroimaging and computational modeling studies have led to the suggestion that response conflict monitoring by the anterior cingulate cortex plays a key role in cognitive control. For example, response conflict is high when a response must be withheld (no-go) in contexts in which there is a prepotent tendency to make an overt (go) response. An event-related brain potential (ERP) component, the N2, is more pronounced on no-go than on go trials and was previously thought to reflect the need to inhibit the go response. However, the N2 may instead reflect the high degree of response conflict on no-go trials. If so, an N2 should also be apparent when subjects make a go response in conditions in which no-go events are more common. To test this hypothesis, we collected high-density ERP data from subjects performing a go/no-go task, in which the relative frequency of go versus no-go stimuli was varied. Consistent with our hypothesis, an N2 was apparent on both go and no-go trials and showed the properties expected of an ERP measure of conflict detection on correct trials: (1) It was enhanced for low-frequency stimuli, irrespective of whether these stimuli were associated with generating or suppressing a response, and (2) it was localized to the anterior cingulate cortex. This suggests that previous conceptions of the no-go N2 as indexing response inhibition may be in need of revision. Instead, the results are consistent with the view that the N2 in go/no-go tasks reflects conflict arising from competition between the execution and the inhibition of a single response.
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            Bilingual experience and executive functioning in young children.

            Advanced inhibitory control skills have been found in bilingual speakers as compared to monolingual controls (Bialystok, 1999). We examined whether this effect is generalized to an unstudied language group (Spanish-English bilingual) and multiple measures of executive function by administering a battery of tasks to 50 kindergarten children drawn from three language groups: native bilinguals, monolinguals (English), and English speakers enrolled in second-language immersion kindergarten. Despite having significantly lower verbal scores and parent education/income level, Spanish-English bilingual children's raw scores did not differ from their peers. After statistically controlling for these factors and age, native bilingual children performed significantly better on the executive function battery than both other groups. Importantly, the relative advantage was significant for tasks that appear to call for managing conflicting attentional demands (Conflict tasks); there was no advantage on impulse-control (Delay tasks). These results advance our understanding of both the generalizability and specificity of the compensatory effects of bilingual experience for children's cognitive development.
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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.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Child Development
                Child Dev
                Wiley
                00093920
                July 2016
                July 2016
                May 02 2016
                : 87
                : 4
                : 1277-1290
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Hospital for Sick Children
                [2 ]York University
                [3 ]Simon Fraser University
                Article
                10.1111/cdev.12538
                © 2016
                Product
                Self URI (article page): http://doi.wiley.com/10.1111/cdev.12538

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