Biculturalism, linguistic distance, and bilingual profile effects on the bilingual influence on cognition: A comprehensive multipopulation approach.
Published on Apr 15, 2021in Journal of Experimental Psychology: General
· DOI :10.1037/XGE0000794
The idea that being bilingual benefits one's cognitive development and performance has been greatly challenged over the last years. If such an effect exists, as some studies continue to show, it might actually be restricted to particular contexts and bilingual profiles; not unlikely, considering the enormous diversity in the latter across the world. In this study, we assessed 4 different bilingual populations (N = 201) and 2 monolingual populations (N = 105), in the Balkan region. We formed bilingual groups based on (a) acculturation strategy (bicultural vs. monocultural), (b) linguistic distance, as well as (c) bilingual profile (balanced vs. unbalanced), based on linguistic, affective, and acculturation measures and cluster analysis. Beyond prior work, this allowed us to explore the specific conditions under which any cognitive advantage may be observed in bilinguals. We did not find systematic evidence for positive effects of bilingualism, biculturalism, or a balanced bilingual profile on inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility, monitoring, and proactive-reactive control management. The only evidence pointing to an advantage was restricted to Bosnian-Albanian bilinguals (linguistic distance analyses) and their general monitoring capacity. Acculturation strategy though, played an important role in shaping the bilinguals' language profile, and appeared to have independent effects on cognition from bilingualism. On this basis, acculturation should be considered in future explorations of bilingual cognitive development. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).