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Bilingual/Multilingual Advantage: Is Early Bilingualism/Multilingualism Associated with an Advantage in Working Memory in Adults

Flavin, Niall (2020) Bilingual/Multilingual Advantage: Is Early Bilingualism/Multilingualism Associated with an Advantage in Working Memory in Adults. Undergraduate thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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Abstract

The study aimed to determine whether early bilingual/multilingual adults with high levels of second language proficiency outperform monolingual adults on tasks of working memory. A bilingual advantage has been found previously in working memory however, less is known about an advantage in adults. Nineteen bilingual/multilingual and eighteen monolingual adults completed a battery of working memory tasks, corsi block task (test of visio-spatial working memory), n-back task (test of working memory capacity) and the letter number sequencing task (test of phonological working memory). Independent T tests were used to compare the two language groups on the n-back task and the letter number sequencing task. A Mann- Whitney U test was used to compare the language groups on the corsi block task. The data showed that there was no difference in scores between bilinguals/multilinguals and monolinguals on any of the three measures of working memory. The study indicates that a working memory advantage is not evident in adults who acquired a second language before the age of seven and who have high proficiency in their second language. This finding may be a result of high reported education levels and high socio- economic levels of participants, indicating that future researchers need to control for these variables. Longitudinal research is warranted that investigates the bilingual advantage and working memory across the lifespan. The present study was limited by the cross-sectional design of the study, the sample size and the inability to generalize the results across the population.
Keywords: bilingual advantage, working memory, visio-spatial working memory, phonological working memory, working memory capacity.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > Psychology > Cognition
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > Psychology > Cognitive psychology
Divisions: School of Business > BA (Honours) in Psychology
Depositing User: Mr Kevin Loughran
Date Deposited: 21 May 2021 15:29
Last Modified: 21 May 2021 15:29
URI: http://norma.ncirl.ie/id/eprint/4824

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