Edited by Ellen Bialystok and Margot D. Sullivan
[Studies in Bilingualism 53] 2017
► pp. 265–295
Chapter 13. History-inspired reflections on the Bilingual Advantages Hypothesis
In recent years, there has been much debate regarding the hypothesis that bilingual language experience leads to “advantages” in neurocognition, particularly, in executive control. This debate has played out most excitedly with respect to younger adults, but it has also occurred with respect to older adults, the topic of this volume. In this chapter, we reflect upon the nature of debate concerning the bilingual advantages hypothesis within our field, a debate that directly impacts both how we are viewed as scientists from the outside our field, and the message we send to the next generation of scientists within our field. We first recount the theoretical basis of the bilingual advantages hypothesis. We then reflect upon how this hypothesis relates to foundational controversies long-standing in the language sciences and offer our idiosyncratic interpretation regarding the current status of the debate. Finally, we enumerate several concluding thoughts about how our field might proceed more effectively when investigating the relationships between bilingualism and neurocognition.
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