Longitudinal effects of bilingualism on dual-tasking

Sörman, Daniel Eriksson, Josefsson, Maria, Marsh, John Everett orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9494-1287, Hansson, Patrik and Ljungberg, Jessica K (2017) Longitudinal effects of bilingualism on dual-tasking. PloS one, 12 (12). e0189299.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0189299


An ongoing debate surrounds whether bilinguals outperform monolinguals in tests of executive processing. The aim of this study was to investigate if there are long-term (10 year) bilingual advantages in executive processing, as indexed by dual-task performance, in a sample that were 40-65 years at baseline. The bilingual (n = 24) and monolingual (n = 24) participants were matched on age, sex, education, fluid intelligence, and study sample. Participants performed free-recall for a 12-item list in three dual-task settings wherein they sorted cards either during encoding, retrieval, or during both encoding and retrieval of the word-list. Free recall without card sorting was used as a reference to compute dual-task costs. The results showed that bilinguals significantly outperformed monolinguals when they performed card-sorting during both encoding and retrieval of the word-list, the condition that presumably placed the highest demands on executive functioning. However, dual-task costs increased over time for bilinguals relative to monolinguals, a finding that is possibly influenced by retirement age and limited use of second language in the bilingual group.

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