Edited by Irina A. Sekerina, Lauren Spradlin and Virginia Valian
[Studies in Bilingualism 57] 2019
► pp. 223–236
Chapter 14. Does performance on executive function tasks correlate?
Evidence from child trilinguals, bilinguals, and second language learners
Recent discussion has questioned how well standard executive function tasks tap executive function processes and the convergent validity across executive function tasks. The present study reanalyses data from a study on executive function in children (Poarch & van Hell, 2012a), building empirically on enhanced performance on executive function tasks (Simon & ANT) of bilingual children compared to monolingual children. Specifically, in the original study, the Simon effect and ANT executive control effect differed across groups with bilinguals and trilinguals showing enhanced conflict resolution over monolinguals and second language learners. This outcome is in line with the view that enhanced executive function in bilingual children stems from their permanent need to monitor, control, and shift between two languages. However, the results from the reanalyses indicate that children’s performance on the two executive function tasks did not correlate significantly, which is discussed, amongst other factors, against the backdrop of exogenous and endogenous inhibitory processes that are differentially invoked by the specific nature of the two tasks.
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