No evidence for reduced Simon cost in elderly bilinguals and bidialectals

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We explored whether a bilingual advantage in executive control is associated with differences in cultural and ethnic background associated with the bilinguals’ immigrant status, and whether dialect use in monolinguals can also incur such an advantage. Performance on the Simon task in older non-immigrant (Gaelic-English) and immigrant (Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Malay, Punjabi, Urdu-English) bilinguals was compared with three groups of older monolingual English speakers, who were either monodialectal users of the same English variety as the bilinguals or were bidialectal users of a local variety of Scots. Results showed no group differences in overall reaction times as well as in the Simon effect thus providing no evidence that an executive control advantage is related to differences in cultural and ethnic background as was found for immigrant compared to non-immigrant bilinguals, nor that executive control may be improved by use of dialect. We suggest the role of interactional contexts and bilingual literacy as potential explanations for inconsistent findings of a bilingual advantage in executive control.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)640-648
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cognitive Psychology
Issue number6
Early online date26 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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