Performance on Auditory and Visual Tasks of Inhibition in English Monolingual and Spanish–English Bilingual Adults: Do Bilinguals Have a Cognitive Advantage? Purpose Bilingual individuals have been shown to be more proficient on visual tasks of inhibition compared with their monolingual counterparts. However, the bilingual advantage has not been evidenced in all studies, and very little is known regarding how bilingualism influences inhibitory control in the perception of auditory information. The purpose ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 15, 2018
Performance on Auditory and Visual Tasks of Inhibition in English Monolingual and Spanish–English Bilingual Adults: Do Bilinguals Have a Cognitive Advantage?
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jamie L. Desjardins
    Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Texas at El Paso
  • Francisco Fernandez
    Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Texas at El Paso
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Jamie L. Desjardins: jdesjardins@utep.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Frederick (Erick) Gallun
    Editor-in-Chief: Frederick (Erick) Gallun×
  • Editor: Steve Aiken
    Editor: Steve Aiken×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 15, 2018
Performance on Auditory and Visual Tasks of Inhibition in English Monolingual and Spanish–English Bilingual Adults: Do Bilinguals Have a Cognitive Advantage?
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2018, Vol. 61, 410-419. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-H-17-0160
History: Received May 1, 2017 , Revised August 17, 2017 , Accepted October 26, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2018, Vol. 61, 410-419. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-H-17-0160
History: Received May 1, 2017; Revised August 17, 2017; Accepted October 26, 2017

Purpose Bilingual individuals have been shown to be more proficient on visual tasks of inhibition compared with their monolingual counterparts. However, the bilingual advantage has not been evidenced in all studies, and very little is known regarding how bilingualism influences inhibitory control in the perception of auditory information. The purpose of the current study was to examine inhibition of irrelevant information using auditory and visual tasks in English monolingual and Spanish–English bilingual adults.

Method Twenty English monolinguals and 19 early balanced Spanish–English bilinguals participated in this study. All participants were 18–30 years of age, had hearing thresholds < 25 dB HL from 250 to 8000 Hz, bilaterally (American National Standards Institute, 2003), and were right handed. Inhibition was measured using a forced-attention dichotic consonant–vowel listening task and the Simon task, a nonverbal visual test.

Results Both groups of participants demonstrated a significant right ear advantage on the dichotic listening task; however, no significant differences in performance were evidenced between the monolingual and bilingual groups in any of the dichotic listening conditions. Both groups performed better on the congruent trial than on the incongruent trial of the Simon task and had significantly faster response times on the congruent trial than on the incongruent trial. However, there were no significant differences in performance between the monolingual and bilingual groups on the visual test of inhibition.

Conclusions No significant differences in performance on auditory and visual tests of inhibition of irrelevant information were evidenced between the monolingual and bilingual participants in this study. These findings suggest that bilinguals may not exhibit an advantage in the inhibition of irrelevant information compared with monolinguals.

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