A Closer Look at the Effect of Bilingualism on Working Memory
Capani, Angela M.
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Previous research suggests that bilinguals act as experts when engaged in tasks requiring attentional control (Incera & McLennan, 2015). Experts across various domains are slower to initiate a response, but then produce a more efficient response. We used mouse-tracking to determine whether bilingual (n = 51) and monolingual (n = 51) young adults (M = 20.65) employed different strategies while engaged in two sets of memory tasks, the n-back and item/associative tasks. Language groups displayed similar performance on most tasks, however, bilinguals had longer initiation and reaction times than monolinguals on the associative task. When examined as a continuous factor, degree of bilingualism was positively correlated with initiation time. The results of the regression analysis support the conclusion that bilingualism impacts the strategies that participants display while completing memory tasks. In the future, tasks requiring more controlled processing should be utilized to allow for more robust differences to appear.