Identifying a threshold for the executive function advantage in bilingual children

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De Cat, Cecile ; Gusnanto, Arief ; Serratrice, Ludovica (2018)

The literature exploring the executive function correlates of bilingualism is vast, but to date, few studies have concentrated on children, for whom the bilingual advantage appears even more inconsistent than for adults. We investigate a highly heterogeneous group of children (in terms of bilingual experience and socio-economic status) and identify the critical threshold of bilingual experience from which an advantage can be observed at group level. The modeling methods adopted allow the use of fine-grained, continuous factors for age and socio-economic status, thereby effectively controlling for their effect and isolating the specific effect of bilingual experience. We pioneer the use of Cox Proportional Hazard regression to analyze performance in the Simon task. This allows the modeling of all data points without transformation nor outlier removal, and captures both accuracy and reaction time within the same analysis, while also being able to handle multiple predictor variables.
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