Edited by Irina A. Sekerina, Lauren Spradlin and Virginia Valian
[Studies in Bilingualism 57] 2019
► pp. 247–262
Chapter 16. What cognitive processes are likely to be exercised by bilingualism and does this exercise lead to extra-linguistic cognitive benefits?
I begin with some personal history that illuminates my background and my interest in the questions posed in this article’s title (What cognitive processes are likely to be exercised by bilingualism and does this exercise lead to extra-linguistic cognitive benefits?). A brief overview of historical interest in these questions follows, with emphasis on the landmark study by Peal and Lambert (1962) and the seminal ideas in Bialystok’s (2001) book: Bilingualism in Development: Language, Literacy and Cognition. Three cognitive processes (monitoring, selection mediated by inhibition, and switching) are likely to be “exercised” in the bilingual mind and, especially, in the bilingual context. Yet, despite a few early studies that reported evidence for bilingual advantages in these cognitive processes, the thorough empirical reviews presented here and in previous papers by Hilchey (Hilchey & Klein, 2011; Hilchey, Saint-Aubin, & Klein, 2015) and others, suggest that there are no extra-linguistic cognitive benefits of multilingual mastery.