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Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice

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Language Evolution: The Windows Approach

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Language Evolution: The Windows Approach addresses the question: "How can we unravel the evolution of language, given that there is no direct evidence about it?"


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Academic Paper


Title: Bilingual advantage in attentional control: Evidence from the forced-attention dichotic listening paradigm
Author: Anna Soveri
Institution: Åbo Akademi University
Author: Matti Laine
Institution: Åbo Akademi University
Author: Heikki Hämäläinen
Institution: University of Turku
Author: Kenneth Hugdahl
Institution: University of Bergen
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Psycholinguistics
Subject Language: Finnish
Swedish
Abstract: It has been claimed that due to their experience in controlling two languages, bilinguals exceed monolinguals in certain executive functions, especially inhibition of task-irrelevant stimuli. Here we investigated the effects of bilingualism on an executive phonological task, namely the forced-attention dichotic listening task with syllabic stimuli. In the standard non-forced (NF) condition, the participants reported all syllables they heard, be it from the right or the left ear. In the forced-right (FR) and forced-left (FL) attention conditions, they had to direct their attention to either the right- or the left-ear stimulus and inhibit information coming to the other ear. We tested Finnish monolinguals and early simultaneous Finnish–Swedish bilinguals from two age groups: (30–50-year-olds and 60–74-year-olds). The results showed that the bilinguals performed better than the monolinguals in the FR and FL conditions. This supports the idea of a bilingual advantage in directing attention and inhibiting task-irrelevant stimuli.

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This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 14, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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