Edited by Irina A. Sekerina, Lauren Spradlin and Virginia Valian
[Studies in Bilingualism 57] 2019
► pp. 81–99
Chapter 6. Cooking pasta in La Paz
Bilingualism, bias, and the replication crisis
Literature on bilingualism and cognition is characterized by a large amount of conflicting evidence. In some studies, bilinguals perform better then monolinguals on executive tasks involving inhibition, monitoring, and switching but are slower on tasks of lexical processing. Other studies don’t find any significant effects and challenge the very existence of cognitive differences between monolinguals and bilinguals. In this paper I question the assumption that different studies performed in different parts of the world should yield the same results. I argue that the environment (in the widest sense of the word) in which an experiment is conducted can exert profound influence on its outcome. Against the background of the current debate about the replication crisis in science, I propose that conflicting evidence is not a threat to the trustworthiness of scientific research but a sign of the health of a discipline and a welcome opportunity to identify new relevant variables.
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