New paper on language use, language proficiency and cognitive control

Josje Verhagen, Elise de Bree and I just heard that our paper “Effects of bilingual language use and language proficiency on 24-month-olds’ cognitive control” has been accepted for publication at the Journal of Cognition and Development. Hurrah! In this paper, which is very much Josje’s work, we show that cognitive control performance in bilingual toddlers is related to how much they use their two languages and whether their parents were proficient in the home language(s). More specifically, what we found was that children with more balanced use had better cognitive control, as reported by parents. In addition, children who were more likely to have to switch languages at home, because one or both of their parents were not very proficient in one of two, had higher scores on a visual selective attention task. In short, then, the paper adds to the growing body of evidence that effects of bilingualism on cognitive control are tied to specific conditions of bilingualism. What I’m particularly excited about in this paper is the way in which bilingual language proficiency and use is operationalised – this is something which regularly ties my head in knots and I think the approach Josje has developed here is promising for future research.

DOI to follow once the paper’s available online!